Jake Dowell On ESPN''s E:60 Tonight

Minnesota Wild forward Jake Dowell and his emotional story will be featured tonight (Tuesday September 24, 2013) on the ESPN show E:60.

Both Dowell's father, John, and brother Luke suffer from Huntington's disease, a neurodegenerative disorder. The disease, which typically begins to show signs of symptoms when a person reaches his/her mid-30s, affects muscle and motor functions along with psychiatric problems and a cognitive decline through nerve cells degenerating in the brain. The life expectancy of a person with Huntington's is around twenty years once symptoms slowly start.

Huntington's is genetic regardless of gender, meaning Dowell has a 50-50 chance of having the infected gene that causes Huntington's. There is a test to find out whether or not one has the disease, however, Huntington's does not have a cure.

"It’s just such a scary thing that you have to just absolutely just be ready to accept your fate either way," Dowell says in the feature. "It’s basically the flip of a coin…"

That fact - taking a test possibly knowing you will eventually succumb to a disease- makes it one of the most difficult decisions anyone can make (along with the ethical implications). Most people do not. Fighting an enforcer is a piece of cake compared to finding out before.

Still, it hasn't stopped Dowell, who signed with the Wild as a free agent in 2012, on the ice. He has had all of the success that comes with an NHL career. The Eau Claire, WI native was drafted by Chicago and has played for three NHL teams over six seasons. Prior to the NHL, Dowell won a collegiate national championship in 2006 with his home-state Wisconsin Badgers.

For E:60, Dowell sits down with ESPN's Chris Connelly to give an in-depth look - with the support of his mother and wife - on the dilemma on facing his family, future and the test that reveals his fate.

(You can see Andy Johnson's interview with Connelly over at Bucky's Fifth Quarter here. for a more in-depth preview.)

Dowell's E:60 feature airs at 6:00 p.m. CT (7 ET) on ESPN.

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  1. I know first hand how horrific this is and have years more to live with so I under stand his fear! My grandmother, my uncle and my father all have Huntingtons! I, like Jake, have been terrified to get the test done but actually took them cpl weeks ago n go Monday to find results. My uncles son was checked and he came back negative so now I'm actually more terrified because I ask my self now,"Am I lucky enough to not and this ends, I can think about having a family and not fear passing this on!" God bless you and your family Jake!

    1. Chad, thank you for sharing this. Taking the test is one of the bravest things anyone can do and nothing I say or write comes close. Best of luck!