Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman JJ Watt made the startling admission he would be taking the field for an NFL game just four days after undergoing a medical procedure on his heart.
Just hours prior to kickoff between the Cardinals and Carolina Panthers on Monday morning (AEDT), Watt tweeted the revelation to his 5.6 million followers.
'MAKES ME SICK': NFL world in uproar over sickening scenes
“I was just told somebody leaked some personal information about me and it’s going to be reported on today,” Watt said.
“I went into A-Fib on Wednesday, had my heart shocked back into rhythm on Thursday and I’m playing today. That’s it.”
I was just told somebody leaked some personal information about me and it’s going to be reported on today.
I went into A-Fib on Wednesday, had my heart shocked back into rhythm on Thursday and I’m playing today.
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) October 2, 2022
Atrial fibrillation is an irregular heart rhythm that begins in your heart's upper chambers.
The news prompted concern for the 33-year-old’s welfare as well as questions about the decision to allow him to play so soon after such a serious health issue.
NFL player health and safety has been in the spotlight in recent weeks following the Miami Dolphins’ handling of consecutive head injuries suffered by their quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
Tagovailoa was allowed to play just days after suffering a concussion against the Buffalo Bills in Week 3, only to see him suffer another head injury against the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday that required him to be rushed to hospital for assessment.
As a result of the incident, the NFL Players’ Association fired the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant involving in clearing Tagovailoa.
Many NFL fans and pundits made comparisons between the decision to allow Watt to play and the manner in which the Dolphins dealt with Tagovailoa’s injury, labelling it as ‘questionable’ and ‘stupid’.
Watt played through the entirety of the Cardinals’ 26-16 victory over the Panthers, making three total tackles and defending two passes.
Life is bigger than football.
Glad you are OK.
— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) October 2, 2022
Just saw the JJ Watt tweet, there is playing through pain and there is playing through stupid. You can decide for yourself what that is.
— Mo Dakhil (@MoDakhil_NBA) October 2, 2022
Tua Tagovailoa: I risked permanent brain injury playing on Thursday.
JJ Watt: hold my beer
— Mike (@sweenz104) October 2, 2022
I am truly confused but praying for the best for JJ Watt. Maybe we just aren’t used to knowing all the things these guys play though. But the information generation is shining a light on a lot of questionable decisions when it comes to athletes health in the long run. https://t.co/slyw7NddhV
— Anita Blanton (@AnitaBlantonTV) October 2, 2022
“I had my heart shocked back into rhythm on Thursday and I’m playing today. That’s it.”
That’s not it. Whether JJ Watt, Tua or RG3 a decade ago, these gladiators are just not wired to say no to playing. This is why teams must protect players from themselves. Cards should sit JJ. https://t.co/cM1WfNPGCg
— ChuckModi (@ChuckModi1) October 2, 2022
The NFL needs doctors who will tell players, “hey, sit this one out,” but a responsible doctor would say that about way too much, so we get Tua the other night, and now this, which… that can’t possibly be medically responsible. pic.twitter.com/4ZwpdGJJg9
— Jesse Spector (@jessespector) October 2, 2022
JJ Watt speaks out about decision to play
After the game, the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year told reporters he consulted numerous medical professionals before making the decision to take the field.
“I talked to cardiologists and electro-physiologists from around the country,” Watt explained.
“I was assured multiple times by multiple people that there was nothing else you could do but go back and play like normal.
"It could happen again the next day, it could happen never again in 20 years.
“So I went back to practice Friday, practiced and here we are.”
Watt, who is expecting his first child with wife Kealia in a matter of weeks, broke down in tears as he spoke about his family.
“Obviously it’s been a very emotional week for my family, for myself,” Watt said.
“We’ve been looking at ultrasounds of our baby boy, and they’re all extremely happy.
"Then the other day we were looking at an ultrasound of my heart. It’s been tough.”
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