Penguins defenseman Kris Letang
isn’t a typical athlete. He’s young and in the prime of his playing career. He’s arguably the best-conditioned player on the team – currently averaging a team-high 24:31 minutes per game – and is by far their strongest skater. In short, he is the prototypical specimen of a well-trained athlete.
So when Letang found out at the beginning of the year that he had suffered a stroke at age 26, it was absolutely shocking news.
“It’s tough to believe. When I found out I didn’t really believe it,” Letang, now 27, said at the time.
Because of his young age, fortunately there was a high chance for a return to complete normalcy. After he suffered the stroke on Jan. 29, Letang received blood thinners for the next six weeks. On March 17 he was taken off of the blood thinners and was able to return to full practice with the team. He returned to game action after a 10-week absence on April 9.
While Letang was able to get back to full health, it was still an incredibly scary time for him and his family. So when Letang first learned of his diagnosis, he decided to make his condition public in order to raise awareness.
“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.
Now, Letang is taking even more action as the Penguins defenseman will be co-chair of the American Heart Association’s annual Heart Walk on Sunday, Nov. 16 at Heinz Field at 12 p.m. Fans are encouraged to donate and/or sign up to join.
“The Heart Walk increases awareness of heart disease and stroke and raises critical funds for life-saving research and education,” Letang said. “Form a Heart Walk team with your family, friends and co-workers and choose to build a healthier life and a healthier community.”
For more information, please visit heart.org/pittsburghwalk.