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'It was month after month, my arm got weaker and weaker' - Ed Slater

By PA
Ed Slater of Gloucester receives the ball during the Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 match between Gloucester Rugby and La Rochelle at Kingsholm Stadium on April 02, 2021 in Gloucester, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

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Ed Slater said living in the present is helping him face the challenge of his motor neurone disease diagnosis.

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The 34-year-old revealed last month that he had been diagnosed with the devastating degenerative condition that fellow former sports stars Doddie Weir, Rob Burrow and Len Johnrose are also battling.

Gloucester rugby player Slater announced his retirement from the sport last month after receiving the news following months of tests.

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“It was month after month, my arm got weaker and weaker, my grip became weaker, and I went to Oxford and was diagnosed with MND,” Slater told the BBC.

“Part of me had prepared for that, partly because of the weakness and partly because of the symptoms. I know very close friends of mine who have lost a family member to it, was able to speak to them about his experiences and so I prepared myself.”

Slater, who has three young children, has already begun recording his voice in anticipation of the condition affecting his speech.

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He is determined to stay positive, saying: “I’m not saying that makes it easier when you’re diagnosed – it absolutely doesn’t – but in some ways it had been 11 months of torment, different symptoms, not knowing, looking for different reasons, and to have definitive diagnosis – it sounds strange to say this – but at least it gave me an answer.

“Not an answer I wanted but I can’t change it. My attitude is to get on with things. There are difficult things in life, not many things harder than that, but you have to face challenges head on.

“I don’t think too far into the future and I take each day as it comes. I find that’s a peaceful place for me and keeps me in best spirits as I can.”

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