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11 Famous Athletes Whose Lives and Careers Have Been Saved By Stents

Athletes are the world’s most physically fit individuals who can run for over an hour while taking part in intense sports like basketball or football. As such they need a working heart that can pump the right amount of blood when needed to maintain their intensity. Unfortunately, some athletes have discovered the hard way that they have a heart condition.

Stars like Papy Faty have collapsed and died on the pitch with others like Christian Eriksen collapsing and being rushed to the hospital.

Heart issues have also forced various athletes like Kun Aguero and Iker Casillas to retire earlier.

But some were lucky enough to return to doing what they love after the doctors inserted stents in their hearts.

Stents have saved the careers of many athletes while giving them a new lease of life. In fact, some athletes have made some life-changing decisions after surviving a heart attack.

Here is a list of famous athletes whose lives and careers have been saved by stents.  

1. Bernhard Gruber

The Gold medalist has had to undergo two heart surgeries in his career to save his life. The first one was done in 2020 and the doctor inserted a stent to help open his coronary artery. After the surgery, he was given a clean bill of health and he got back to skiing by the end of the year.

The second one was done in 2021 after he started experiencing chest pains while taking part in the Team Sprint Competition. He was once again rushed to the hospital and the doctor inserted 2 more stents in 2021. But this didn’t stop him since he went back to skiing again after a few months.

2. Ken Lewis

Lewis is a great example of an athlete who has been running marathons since the 1980s even with a heart condition. Ken competed in the first triathlon in England that included cycling, running, and swimming in 1982. But did you know that he has had 7 stents inserted in his heart over the years? Despite the heart issues, he still loves running and taking part in diathlons to date.

3. Alberto Salazar

Back in 2007, Salazar had a heart attack and died for 14 minutes and was saved by a stent. Alberto is a legend who has won 3 New York Marathons and everyone was disappointed when he collapsed at 48 years old. And while the doctors were trying to save him, he was unresponsive for 14 minutes. He was hospitalized for 9 days and within a few months he was back to doing what he loves.

4. Tim O’Donnell

The news of Tim’s heart attack in August 2021 took the world by surprise. He had suffered a widowmaker, which is a blockage of his LAD (left anterior descending) artery. The doctor repaired his LAD artery using a stent and gave him a clean bill of health by the end of the year. 

5. Ciaran Byrne

The former player of Naomh Mairtin of the GAA Championship experienced 3 heart attacks before he turned 30 years old. He was afraid that he may never become a dad, but thanks to the 2 stents placed in his heart, he is alive to date. 

He underwent an MRI scan that confirmed that he had 3 heart attacks that resulted in his coronary artery getting blocked. To clear the blockage, the doctors inserted 2 stents in his heart.

6. Connor Goldson

The Rangers FC player was diagnosed with an aortic aneurysm which threatened his career. So, he had to undergo surgery to repair the aorta, and to ensure that it never pops back again while playing, the doctors placed a stent in his heart. With the stent, he can now continue playing for Rangers.

7. Iker Casillas

Back in 2019, the world was surprised to discover that Casillas would never play football again. Iker had suffered a myocardial infarction while training and was rushed to the hospital. The surgery was a success, but the doctors had to insert a stent in his heart to save him. Unfortunately, he could no longer play football, especially as a goalkeeper with a stent in his heart.

8. Nick O’Leary

O’Leary has had an exceptional career since he was drafted to the NFL in 2015. He has played for Raiders, Jacksonville, Miami, and Buffalo. But back in 2020, he suffered a heart attack that resulted in him undergoing a surgery. The doctors unblocked his artery and inserted a stent in his heart.

9. Adrian Morgan

Morgan suffered a near-fatal cardiac arrest in 2021 that resulted in him being hospitalized and undergoing a surgery. By then he was 56 years old and had already played over 700 senior games. But after the surgery, he was back to the field representing Vic Country in the AFL-Masters National Carnival. 

10. Peter Matera

The West Coast Eagles player suffered a heart attack in 2022 and had to be rushed to the hospital. He is a 2-time AFL premiership player who has enjoyed over 253 games. He was rushed to Bendigo hospital where the doctor inserted 2 stents in his heart. 

11. Chris Kalantzis

After celebrating his 50th birthday, Chris wasn’t feeling well, so he went to Rhodes to get medical help. A pharmacist identified him and after hearing his symptoms, he recommended him to the nearest cardiologist. After undergoing a few tests that confirmed that he was undergoing a cardiac event, he was rushed to the hospital where the doctor unblocked his arteries using stents. The Australian football legend passed away 4 times while the doctors were inserting the stents in his arteries.

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There is nothing scarier to an athlete than experiencing a heart attack on the pitch. A heart attack can do more than end a career; it has ended the lives of a number of athletes in the past. Luckily, medicine is ever changing and the introduction of stents has saved the lives of many athletes. In fact, some of the above athletes have gone back to finish their careers after undergoing surgery.

Nikita Waruguru

Nikita Waruguru is a Kenyalogue freelance writer who focuses on TV, celebrity gossip, and pop culture. She's been interested in TV and entertainment from a young age. She wrote her first blog post 10 years ago and has since written more than 3000 news articles, features, and lists. When she's not writing about the latest Netflix reality shows, you can find her binge-watching one or listening to music.

Nikita Waruguruhttp://kenyalogue.com
Nikita Waruguru is a Kenyalogue freelance writer who focuses on TV, celebrity gossip, and pop culture. She's been interested in TV and entertainment from a young age. She wrote her first blog post 10 years ago and has since written more than 3000 news articles, features, and lists. When she's not writing about the latest Netflix reality shows, you can find her binge-watching one or listening to music.
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