Professional ice hockey center and team captain for the Tampa Bay Lightning Steven Stamkos likely won’t be playing anytime soon after suffering a blood clot last March because his treatment puts him at risk for serious bleeding risks in the event he is injured.
Stamoks is lucky, though. He suffered pain and swelling in his right arm after a game against the Canadiens – something a lot of people would have dismissed – and immediately associated it with symptoms his teammate Andrei Vasilevskiy had experienced. Vasilevskiy had been diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome.
The condition, which occurs when the upper chest or shoulders put pressure on the nerves, arteries or veins that supply the arm, can trigger the development of blood clots. If left untreated, blood clots can lead to pulmonary embolism, heart attacks or strokes, depending on where they are located.
It turned out that Stamoks was experiencing a compression injury between a rib and the clavicle, which caused him to develop a blood clot. Stamkos was benched and underwent surgery to remove his upper rib in order to relieve pressure in his chest. He had to recover from surgery, but he was also prescribed blood thinners to treat his blood clot and prevent others from forming.
Blood thinners, can cause bleeding events including gastrointestinal bleeds and brain bleeds – which can be fatal. And that means that if Stamkos suffered an injury on the ice, even a small injury, it could cause uncontrolled bleeding, which could be life threatening.
As for Stamkos, his playing days aren’t over. His blood thinner therapy is only for the short term, which means he could be back to play within months. Though, some speculate that he could be out for the season.
Source: Sporting News