Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang will miss at least six weeks after having a stroke last week.
“Kris had one brief episode of dizziness and nausea last week,” executive vice president and general manger Ray Shero told Penguins.NHL.com on Friday. “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.”
Tests revealed that the 6-foot, 201-pounder has had a hole in the wall of his heart since birth, which could have led to the stroke. Dr. Dharmesh Vyas of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center has been overseeing Letang’s care and, according to the report, Letang’s condition is treatable with blood thinners. The 26-year-old has even been cleared to go on vacation with his family during the Olympic break.
“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. “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 is in his seventh NHL campaign and has 10 goals and 18 points in 34 games this season. After six weeks of treatment, doctors will re-evaluate last year’s Norris Trophy finalist, according to Shero.
“The most important thing right now, of course, is Kris’ health,” the GM said. “We’re not thinking about hockey right now. We want to make sure he gets the best possible care and gets better.”