Alex Stalock is likely to miss all of 2021-22 due to a heart condition developed after contracting COVID-19
Photo credit:Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
By Cam Lewis2 years ago
Here’s some scary news from Ken Holland’s press conference on Wednesday morning.
The Oilers expect that goaltender Alex Stalock will miss the entirety of the 2021-22 campaign due to a heart condition that he developed after contracting COVID-19 prior to the 2021 season.
As Holland said, Stalock contracted COVID-19 before the 56-game 2021 season. When he was medically cleared, he crossed the Canada-U.S. border, did a two-week quarantine, joined the Oilers in Edmonton, and spent the entirety of the season on the team’s Taxi Squad.
On Nov. 19, Stalock was tested for the coronavirus in order to get cleared to officially enter the Wild’s TRIA Rink practice facility in order to get ready for the upcoming hockey season. The next day, at 3 o’clock, he was driving to his friend’s cabin with his wife and three children when the Wild team doctor called to tell him he tested positive for the virus. Stalock’s wife, Felicia, immediately put a mask on herself and their children, and the family turned around to return to the Twin Cities.Still, Stalock didn’t believe he had the virus. He had no symptoms and maintains he still never had a single symptom from having the virus.In fact, after returning to the Twin Cities, Stalock said he had multiple negative tests and never once had another positive test.He thought it had to be a false positive and asked to get clearance to the Wild’s practice facility.But following NHL protocol, doctors told him he first needed to go through a cardiac screening even though he was symptom-free.Stalock took an EKG and echocardiogram figuring it was just a formality and, bluntly, a waste of time. But doctors immediately noticed an abnormality and ordered an MRI to get a better look at his heart.
Out of respect for Stalock’s medical privacy, the team listed him as having an upper-body injury while he navigated this process. That upper-body injury was the heart condition myocarditis.
In simple terms, myocarditis is a disease that causes inflammation of the heart muscle. This inflammation enlarges and weakens the heart, creates scar tissue, and forces it to work harder to circulate blood and oxygen throughout the body.While we often associate cardiovascular conditions with elderly populations, myocarditis can affect anyone, including young adults, children and infants. In fact, it most often affects otherwise healthy, young, athletic types with the high-risk population being those of ages from puberty through their early 30’s, affecting males twice as often as females. Myocarditis is the 3rd leading cause of Sudden Death in children and young adults.
There’s no timetable for Stalock’s return at this point and we wish him all the best in his recovery and hope that he’s able to resume playing professional hockey.
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