Serious health warning for Kristopher Letang
Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kristopher Letang suffered a stroke on Monday but the condition is not career-threatening, the team said.
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The 35-year-old hockey player is not feeling any further effects from this medical condition and further medical examinations will be carried out in the coming days. Obviously, his absence from the competition will be indefinite, he who totaled more than 23 minutes of play in his most recent game, Saturday, against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
« Kris told the coaching staff on Monday that he had been experiencing symptoms and was immediately sent to the hospital, » Penguins general manager Ron Hextall said in a statement. The results came as a shock, but we’re happy to know that Kris is doing well. […] His health is our number one priority.”
A sign that things are going better, the principal concerned spoke in order to reassure everyone.
« I’m lucky to know my body well enough to identify the signs when there’s something wrong, » he admitted. Admittedly, it is difficult to speak about the file publicly. However, I hope that everyone will be more aware. It’s important to me that my teammates, my family and the fans know that I’m in good shape. I am optimistic to be back on the ice soon.”
Letang was also present at the PPG Paints Arena on Tuesday to watch his team’s game, a 3-2 overtime loss against the Carolina Hurricanes. He then accompanied head coach Mike Sullivan into the locker room after the game, when the latter informed the rest of the team of his medical situation.
« It was important that Kris was there, because his teammates could see that he was in good spirits and that he was doing well, » Sullivan said at a press conference. We are all concerned about Kris’ condition because we all care about him. Stroke is a rather scary term.”
A very extensive medical history
The three-time Stanley Cup winner is not in his first troubles of the genre, because in 2014, he found himself away from competition for about two months for the same reason. Tests at the time revealed a birth defect, a small hole in the heart. Since the occurrence of his first stroke, which notably required the taking of blood thinners, Letang has played 543 regular season games and 69 others in the playoffs, lifting the cup in the spring of 2016 and 2017.
« The hardest part was the family, who are very concerned, » he told NHL.com in February 2014, about a month after his wife found him lying on the ground. It was hard to manage; when you see your mother or your wife crying, it’s hard to control. »
This season, the Quebecer has collected 12 points in 21 games, while posting a differential of -7. Last summer, he opted to stay in Pittsburgh and continue playing with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, signing a six-year, $36.6 million contract.
The temporary absence of Letang may complicate the task of the « Pens » who occupy fourth place in the Metropolitan section with 26 points. They are scheduled to host the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday.