35-Year-Old NHL Star Suffers Stroke After Practice: 'The Test Results Were Shocking to Hear'


The Pittsburgh Penguins will be missing defenseman Kris Letang indefinitely after he had a stroke.

The 35-year-old Letang told the team’s training staff after practice on Monday that he was having a migraine and was subsequently told to rush to the hospital, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

Tests revealed that he had suffered a stroke — his second in eight years.

“The test results were shocking to hear, but we are grateful that Kris is doing well,” Penguins general manager Ron Hextall said in a media release. “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.”

The stroke did not seem to cause “lasting effects” and is not likely to end Letang’s career, but he will still need to be tested further.

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“We will do as many tests as we need to do. First and foremost, this is about the person, the father, and the family member. The hockey player and Pittsburgh Penguin is secondary. He’s a terrific human being and one tough SOB,” Hextall said, according to the team’s official Twitter account.

In 2014, when he suffered his first stroke, Letang found out that he had been born with a small hole in the wall of his heart. He missed more than two months but went on to keep playing after that initial stroke.

Hextall said this second stroke was “much less severe” than the first.

Letang said he hopes to be playing again soon.

“I am fortunate to know my body well enough to recognize when something isn’t right. 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,” the defenseman said in the news release.

Hextall added that Letang is handling the situation well.

“I’m shocked at how well he’s doing emotionally and how well he seems to be taking it,” he said.

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Letang has spent his entire 16-year NHL career with the Penguins, according to Hockey Reference.

He was ranked by The Sporting News as one of the best defensemen in the league heading into this season.

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