Horrible news for the Pittsburgh Penguins and their star defenceman Kris Letang today, as the team confirmed that he suffered a stroke last week. Letang has been out of the Penguins lineup with what was termed a “mystery illness” until today’s announcement. Letang will continue to be monitored by UPMC doctors, and will be out a minimum of six weeks, perhaps longer.
“Kris had one brief episode of dizziness and nausea last week,” Penguins general manager Ray Shero said in a statement released by the team and the NHL. “We held him out of the Los Angeles game Thursday night, and when he continued to feel ill, tests conducted in Phoenix on Saturday gave us the first indication of his condition. Further testing then was conducted when he returned to Pittsburgh, and he continued to undergo a battery of tests here this week.”
“The most important thing right now, of course, is Kris’ health,” Shero said. “We’re not thinking about hockey right now. We want to make sure he gets the best possible care and gets better. After six weeks of treatment doctors will re-evaluate Kris.”
The tests revealed that Letang has a small hole in his heart, which may have led to the stroke. This hole is believed to be a birth defect and something Letang has had his entire life. The team also stated that they believe this condition can be treated with blood thinners and should not be life-threatening or career-threatening.
“I hope that by making my condition public at this time I can help other people by encouraging them to seek medical help if they experience some of the symptoms associated with a stroke, regardless of their age or general health,” Letang said in the same statement. “It obviously was a shock to get the news but I’m optimistic that I can overcome this and get back on the ice.”
Letang has ten goals and 18 points in 34 games this season for the Penguins. Last season he scored 38 points in 35 games and finished third in balloting for the Norris Trophy, given annually to the NHL’s best defenceman.
We at LWOS wish Letang a speedy recovery. Our thoughts are with him and his family, friends, teammates, and fans at this time.
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