Star-Ledger Article: D’Alessandro: Battling muscular dystrophy, Nets radio voice Chris Carrino makes the biggest call of his life

By Dave D’Alessandro/Star-Ledger Columnist
Published: Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The first time he was aware that something was wrong was when he was in his late teens, and being someone who doesn’t complain about anything — that should be on his business card, by the way — Chris Carrino decided to keep it to himself.

It wasn’t any one incident, it was just a series of gradual, insidious signals of a disease’s awakening: One day the basketball would feel like a 5-pound weight; another day the easy burst from the batter’s box to first base would turn into a laborious jog in deep sand.

When they finally told him it was muscular dystrophy that had suddenly taken control of his body, Carrino was 23 years old. Being Carrino — and again, this is why everyone regards him as special — his initial response was, “Well, at least it’s not something life-threatening.”

But reality, cruel as it often is, intervenes. He’s lived with this horrid disease — facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, or FSHD, the most common form of MD — for nearly two decades now. It is not only debilitating to motor function, it is devastating to even the most intrepid soul.

“It’s progressive,” Carrino said yesterday, as he prepared for the final home game of his 10th season as the Nets’ radio voice. “You don’t know how it will affect you next year and beyond. And there’s no cure, no treatment.”

“But I’ve found what my neurologist told me years ago is the most viable approach for now: You just do what you can do.”

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