Is Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Ending Sports Careers?

Is thoracic outlet syndrome ending careers in the NHL? It’s certainly more common athletes. Keep reading or follow the story at USA Today to learn more.

The New York Rangers announced on Thursday that one of their members would be off the ice for a while. With a blood clot in his right arm, Ranger winger, Chris Kreider, will be taking an indefinite break from skating.

Symptoms appeared in a game against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday. Kreider played for roughly five minutes before feeling the effects of his injury. The New York Rangers declared that he was suffering from an “upper-body injury” as Kreider withdrew from the game.

Coach Alain Vigneault answered questions from reporters on Thursday. Coach Vigneault declared that Kreider had noticed some swelling in his arm before the first period of the game. Sometime between the first and second periods of play the symptoms became more unusual and Kreider was sent to the hospital.

Although outsiders can only speculate. Estimates place Kreider’s time off the ice at about seven weeks. This is based on the similarities between Kreider’s condition and the experiences of Tampa Bay Lightening goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy. Vasilevskiy required surgery on September 3 of 2015 for a blood clot that was causing thoracic outlet syndrome. By October 26 Vasilevskiy was given the all-clear to resume play.

Kreider and Vasilevskiy are not the only players in the NHL to deal with clots or potential thoracic outlet syndrome, a condition in which blood vessels and nerves are compressed, which is aggravated by the strain in the support. To learn more about TOS, click here.

Tampa Bay Lightening Captain Steven Stamkos required surgery for a blood clot near his collarbone in April of 2016. Pascal Dupuis, a forward player, was forced into retirement in December 2015 at the age of 36. Dupuis also exhibited symptoms and a medical condition connected to blood clots. Goaltender Tomas Vokoun missed a whole season of play between 2013 and 2014 as a result of blood clots. He too would retire.

A brief search for thoracic outlet syndrome will turn up dozens of hits related to sports injury. It is not just the NHL that is rife with them.

Many professional baseball players seem to struggle with this form of injury as well. With trauma and repetitive activity both as leading causes for thoracic outlet syndrome, it is not surprising that athletes are the leading source of the disease. While thoracic outlet syndrome is treatable, the time off without training can be enough to end careers. Not to mention the potential complications and increased susceptibility to future episodes.

In the case of Kreider, he is 26 years old. In the current NHL season he has posted 11 goals, and 22 points across 37 games. His current replacement is Vinni Letteiri who has been pulled from an affiliated team. With luck and proper care, Kreider should return tot he sport.

Hopefully, with as many injuries as can be read about, thoracic outlet syndrome will begin to be taken more seriously by sports enthusiasts and leagues.


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