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Letang suffered a stroke last week, will miss at least six weeks

Feb 7, 2014, 11:51 AM EDT

Kris Letang Getty Images

The mystery ailment that has affected Penguins defenseman Kris Letang has been solved, and it’s frightening.

The Penguins announced Letang will miss at least the next six weeks after suffering a stroke last week.

Letang will be treated with blood thinners and it’s not believed his condition will be career-threatening. Doctors have also discovered a small hole in the wall of his heart that’s been there since he was born. Normally, the hole seals up as you grow up but it didn’t in Letang’s case and may have led to his stroke.

“Kris had one brief episode of dizziness and nausea last week,” Penguins GM Ray Shero said. “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.”

At the very least they’ve found out what’s kept him out of action lately and can now do what’s needed to address it. The Penguins will have to find a way to replace his production in the meantime and hope for the best for Letang.

  1. jpelle82 - Feb 7, 2014 at 11:53 AM

    scary stuff. he trains like a demon, surprised they just now found this heart thing out too.

  2. lowenni - Feb 7, 2014 at 11:54 AM

    Wow, that’s scary, especially at such a young age. I’m sure people will use this opportunity to bring up his sketchy injury history and contract, but there are more important things than that in a time like this. A stroke is a serious thing, and I hope he has a speedy and full recovery that will have him back to playing the game he loves and is so good at.

  3. girouxsalem89 - Feb 7, 2014 at 11:56 AM

    Don’t care for the guy as a hockey player but man thats scary.

    Hope he gets well soon.

    • bigrboland - Feb 7, 2014 at 12:03 PM

      Well I don’t care for Giroux as a hockey player. Apparently those in charge of the Canadian olympic hockey roster don’t either. HaHaHaHaHa! Gingers…. *shaking my head*

      • govtminion - Feb 7, 2014 at 1:11 PM

        Aren’t you clever.

      • Meta - Feb 7, 2014 at 2:42 PM

        Wow dude, be more of an ass. that dude is just saying he wishes Letang a quick recovery. dont be a child.

      • kastout11 - Feb 7, 2014 at 3:16 PM

        Bigrboland, you are a moron. Why even comment on thus article. I am a life-long Flyers fan and have always disliked the Penguins, but this is not about hockey. This is much deeper than being a Flyers or Penguins fan. The most important thing is his health and hopefully a speedy and successful recovery.

      • mp1131211 - Feb 7, 2014 at 5:52 PM

        kastout11- come on’. Get off your high horse. You don’t really care about Letang as a person. Your life will not be altered by this, unless of course it alters your interactions or relationship to hockey. You care about hockey and Letang personifies that for you. It’s called being a star.

        bigrborland was being an a**. But don’t pretend like every comment on here that’s like “Get better, Kris” makes the commenter a better person.

  4. theageofquarrel - Feb 7, 2014 at 11:57 AM

    Get well Kris!!! We are all rooting for you to come back healthy.

  5. capspats - Feb 7, 2014 at 12:01 PM

    This caps fan hopes he gets better

  6. sjsharks66 - Feb 7, 2014 at 12:12 PM

    That is very scary. Thankfully they found one of the main problems. Hopefully all can be fixed and he can continue on with a great career. Thoughts are with Letang, his family and his teammates.

  7. capsrockva - Feb 7, 2014 at 12:12 PM

    Also this Caps fan does as well

  8. charastein - Feb 7, 2014 at 12:19 PM

    Charastein no like the Penguins but still hope Letang is going to be OK and able to continue his hockey career. Good luck Kris.

  9. sjsharks66 - Feb 7, 2014 at 12:19 PM

    @bigrboland grow up, you ass.

    • bigrboland - Feb 7, 2014 at 2:35 PM

      Go blow a ginger! And you’re either a Sharks fan or a Pens fan. Your indecision is annoying and child-like.

      • stepanup - Feb 7, 2014 at 2:40 PM

        Accusing someone of being child-like, two sentences after saying “Go blow a ginger!” Your thought process is baffling to me. There are tens of Olympic articles for you to troll Giroux on (in reference to your first statement), so go play there.

        Get well Kris.

      • bigrboland - Feb 7, 2014 at 3:02 PM

        @stepanup: I never stated that I wasn’t childish, so the reason for you being baffled by my thought process is baffling to me.

        Hope to see you on the ice soon Kris. In support, I’ll be sporting your name/number t-shirt at the game tonight.

  10. theageofquarrel - Feb 7, 2014 at 12:21 PM

    Sometimes you have to wonder what kind of scumbags thumb down well wishes.

    • ibieiniid - Feb 7, 2014 at 12:27 PM

      was wondering the same.

    • patthehockeyfan - Feb 7, 2014 at 2:46 PM

      If the story reported that Letang discovered a cure for cancer, and a commenter wrote something to the effect: “Hey! That’s great! Thanks to Letang!”, trust me, someone would thumb it down.

  11. pitpenguinsrulez - Feb 7, 2014 at 12:25 PM

    Scary stuff here…one can hope he gets better but at this rate I don’t see him coming back this season. Better safe than sorry.

  12. amerika1313 - Feb 7, 2014 at 12:26 PM

    Wow. Scary, scary stuff. Never like hearing about folks having to deal with issues like that, no matter what they do for a living. Best wishes for a speedy recovery and good health going forward, man.

  13. terrier92 - Feb 7, 2014 at 12:37 PM

    Bruins fans all send our best wishes for full recovery

  14. gallyhatch - Feb 7, 2014 at 12:40 PM

    That sounds like what happened to Tedy Bruschi in ’05 right after the Pro Bowl, and he returned to have a few more productive seasons, so there is hope for Letang. (I’m no doctor, but I know he had a stroke, and a hole was discovered in his heart shortly thereafter. . . . the similarities may very well end there for all I know)

    Get well Letang.

  15. laxman1944 - Feb 7, 2014 at 12:44 PM

    Dam, too young.

    Get well Mr. LeTang

  16. tmoore4075 - Feb 7, 2014 at 12:47 PM

    Nothing but good thoughts my man. That’s scary stuff.

  17. montrealbbr - Feb 7, 2014 at 12:52 PM

    Scary stuff and I hope he recovers. I just wonder how something like this can be missed by doctors. I mean these guys are poked and prodded by the team doctors before they are signed. How do they miss a hole in his heart?

    • pepper2011 - Feb 7, 2014 at 1:04 PM

      My only guess would be that these guys are in such amazing condition some of the stuff that would show up on “Normal” people – just doesn’t present as anything alarming…

      I remember seeing an interview with the Doctor who sewed up Zednik’s and he seemed excited because his arteries were in such good condition. I think he referenced not usually performing that type of procedure on someone who wouldn’t have needed it without a freak injury.

      • umass7 - Feb 7, 2014 at 1:19 PM

        I wouldn’t say they “missed” anything. It sounds like that little hole is a patent foramen ovale, and actually around 1 in 5 people have one. The vast majority of the time it doesn’t matter and you would never know.

        However, it can become very clinically relevant in the setting of a blood clot, which might be what happened here. A small clot that would normally go to your lungs and be handled just fine, can instead cross through that hole in the heart and go up to your brain, blocking blood flow. I’m not sure if he has some other predisposition to clotting, or if these guys just get banged up so much that it really increased his chances… but it still seems like this was a rare event that no one could have seen coming.

  18. pepper2011 - Feb 7, 2014 at 12:55 PM

    I strongly dislike you as an opponent, but you are a hockey player first, and a penguin second. A heck of a player at that. Get better quickly so you can continue to make the game better; more fun, and a much more talented league.

    • patthehockeyfan - Feb 7, 2014 at 2:48 PM

      Very nice.

      If I may, “… but you are a human being first, a hockey player second, and a penguin third. …”

  19. govtminion - Feb 7, 2014 at 1:12 PM

    I’ve made a lot of Letang jokes over the years, but I’ll never make fun of something like this. Best of luck to him in his recovery, hoping he’s back on the ice soon.

  20. flyeredup - Feb 7, 2014 at 2:09 PM

    Get well soon Kris!

  21. deathbat20 - Feb 7, 2014 at 2:29 PM

    Damn, not a fan of him, but I don’t wish this on anyone, get well soon kris

  22. flyerguy73 - Feb 7, 2014 at 2:57 PM

    Get better Mr. Letang!

  23. jbink2585 - Feb 7, 2014 at 3:41 PM

    As flyers fan just shows sport is a small part of life, get well soon bud you are great player speedy recovery, and long term healthy.

  24. broadstreetbeatdown - Feb 7, 2014 at 4:52 PM

    Hope the kid recovers quickly and is back on the ice soon.

  25. crosbysuxx - Feb 7, 2014 at 5:08 PM

    Can’t stand Letang he’s an a$$, but never like to see something like this happen even to a Pen. Can’t say best wishes, but hope he’s okay!

    • theageofquarrel - Feb 7, 2014 at 5:43 PM

      Well,you’re a douche so it evens out

  26. seankp822 - Feb 8, 2014 at 1:28 AM

    I’m a caps fan but any time something serious like this happens you realize hockey is just a game. Hope he has a speedy recovery and returns to the ice healthy.

  27. pastabelly - Feb 8, 2014 at 6:36 AM

    This should not happen to someone young like Letang or Bruschi. I hope he’s better and hope to see him in another Bruins-Penguins series.

  28. nhstateline - Feb 8, 2014 at 8:14 AM

    I’m a big Bruins fan sending my best to Mr. Letang and his family. Stroke’s scary stuff but the medical field is good at treating it. Good luck on a full recovery and speedy return.

  29. phillyphanatic77 - Feb 8, 2014 at 1:34 PM

    Scary stuff… best wishes to Letang.

  30. stoogy - Feb 8, 2014 at 3:52 PM

    7 people had to state the obvious and let us know this is scary. Why do people type the same thing as others?

    • lordstanley65 - Feb 8, 2014 at 8:38 PM

      Freedom of speech.

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