kris letang february 2014

Defenseman Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins will be out of action for at least six weeks as the NHL club announced on Friday that he suffered a stroke a week earlier. The team said Letang’s career shouldn’t be in jeopardy since his condition can be treated with blood thinning medication.

Letang has missed the team’s last four games and medical tests revealed that he has a small hole in the wall of his heart. Doctors said Letang has had the heart problem since birth and it could be the cause of his recent stroke.

Ray Shero, the Penguins general manager, said Letang felt sick and dizzy recently and the team kept him out of the lineup in a game against the Los Angeles Kings on Jan. 30. The team then had him tested in Phoenix on Feb. 1 and found out about his condition. He then underwent more tests when returning to Pittsburgh.

Letang’s condition will be re-evaluated again in six weeks and in the meantime he’ll be treated by doctors at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Letang said in a press release that he hopes going public about his condition will encourage other people to seek professional medical help if they are suffering any types of stroke symptoms.

The 26-year-old admitted that he was shocked to find out that he had suffered a stroke, buy is determined to overcome it and resume his career.

Pittsburgh head coach Dan Bylsma said Letang wanted to make his condition known as soon as possible to help anybody else who may be suffering the same symptoms he had. Bylsma stated that Letang didn’t feel well on Jan. 29, but he felt that he could still travel to Los Angeles with the rest of his teammates.

He returned to the ice for an optional morning skate at the Staples Center in los Angeles the next day, but doctors told the team they shouldn’t play him that night. Bylsma said he and the team doctors watched him skate in the morning and they felt there could be something wrong and came to the decision to sit him out.

The tests conducted in Phoenix on Feb. 1 indicated he may have suffered a stroke and further testing in Pittsburgh confirmed it. The coach added that Letang will take blood thinners for a minimum of six weeks.

Letang is regarded as one of the best young defensemen in the league and was a finalist for the Norris Trophy in 2010. The award goes to the best defenseman in the league.

He has played in 24 games so far this season and has 18 points on 10 goals and eight assists. He was sidelined for the first nine games this season due to a lower body injury and missed 10 more games in December when he suffered an upper-body injury.

Doctors said Letang will be able to enjoy a vacation with his family while the NHL is closed down for the Olympic break. When he returns home he should be able to start skating by himself.

The native of Montreal, Canada has 54 goals and 173 assists for 227 points in 419 career regular season games. He also has 13 goals and 34 assists for 47 points in 80 playoff contests.


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