JJ Watt, the NFL’s three-time Defensive Player of the Year and future Hall of Famer, nearly died late September after his heart went into atrial fibrillation for unknown reasons.
“I talked to cardiologists and electrophysiologists from all over the country…I was assured multiple times from multiple people that there was nothing else you could do. I could play like normal and something could happen the next day or never again in 20 years. So I was assured and I went back to practice on Friday and here we are.” Watt said.
Though not necessarily dangerous, the disorder can produce an irregular and frequently very rapid heart beat. The next day after the diagnosis, his heart was shocked back into normal rhythm, and he was cleared to participate in his 138th regular-season NFL game three days later.
“That shows you what type of person and competitor and human being he is… “He’s special. We were all obviously worried when he wasn’t around for a couple days, getting the tests run and handling that. I think it was definitely inspiring for all of us. Played at a really high level. He just continues to amaze, the type of person and player he is.” coach Kliff Kingsbury explained.
Watt was concerned when he learned on Sunday that a media source planned to leak the information regarding his medical condition. Watt tweeted mere hours before kickoff to get ahead of the story. “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. That’s it.”
Watt expressed his emotions during the press conference as he stated “Obviously it’s been a very emotional week for me and my family — for my wife and for myself,”.
Watt has 7 tackles and 2.5 sacks so far for the Arizona Cardinals (2-3) through week 5.