NHL

Kris Letang injury: Penguins star suffers stroke, will be out indefinitely

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang is out indefinitely after suffering a stroke on Monday, the team announced. This is the second stroke Letang, 35, has suffered in his NHL career.

Letang reported his symptoms to the Penguins’ medical staff on Monday and was taken to a nearby hospital. Testing showed that Letang suffered a stroke. There are not expected to be any lasting effects on Letang and this is not expected to end his career. While Letang is expected to return to the ice eventually, the team will sideline him while he undergoes more tests and puts together a plan with the medical staff. 

Penguins general manager Ron Hextall released a statement on Wednesday, saying that Letang’s long-term health is the top priority.

“Kris reported symptoms to the training staff on Monday and was immediately taken to the hospital for testing,” Hextall said. “The test results were shocking to hear, but we are grateful that Kris is doing well. We are thankful to the medical staff and the physicians at UPMC. He is a warrior on the ice, but first and foremost, he is a son, father, husband and friend. His health is our number one priority.”

Letang also released his own statement and said that he is grateful to have a keen sense of when something is wrong with his body.

“I am fortunate to know my body well enough to recognize when something isn’t right,” Letang said. “While it is difficult to navigate this issue publicly, I am hopeful it can raise awareness. It is important for me that my teammates, family and the fans know that I am okay. I am optimistic that I will be back on the ice soon.”

Letang also suffered a stroke in 2014, and tests showed then that he has a tiny hole in his heart. For most individuals, that hole closes over time, but not in Letang’s case. He was able to work his way back from that stroke and has played eight more years in the NHL since then.

This past offseason, Letang signed a six-year contract extension with the Penguins worth a total of $36.6 million, and he is having another productive season. Now in his 17th NHL campaign, the three-time Stanley Cup champion has 12 points in 21 games and leads the team in ice time.



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