Bruins frost-year defenseman Charlie McAvoy spoke with the media for the first time since undergoing a heart procedure to fix an arrhythmia.
Charlie had had these symptoms before just not as strong and he found it difficult to focus on playing. But he trusted the medical staff, who assured him that his overall health and playing career were not in jeopardy.
“I think it was relief, first off, to find out that it was not life-threatening and not dangerous to my overall health. That was my best takeaway from that…[at first] I’m kind of nervous that this is going to be something that is really bad, that I might not be able to play again,” McAvoy said Monday afternoon during a press conference with Finn and Bruins general manager Don Sweeney at Warrior Ice Arena.
“To find out that it was something that was not dangerous, not life-threatening, something that I could still continue to play with, that was a good takeaway right away from the overall situation.”
“The likelihood of it happening again was there, and that is something that kind of sticks with you, but at the same time I was trying not to think about it too much obviously knowing that it wasn’t dangerous, wasn’t life threatening, so if it were to come back, I know I’d be fine,” said McAvoy.
“We kind of talked about a little strategy if it did come back – remove myself from the game and allow myself time to get my heart back and feel good. Luckily, we didn’t get to that point.”
The procedure he underwent is called an ablation and it requires isolation and disabling of tissue that causes an extra cardiac impulses that feel like racing heart beat. Charlie chose the timing of when the procedure would be done, aligning it with the All Star break, so as to minimize the amount of games he would miss. Currently, he is starting to skate again and there is a rehab schedule that everyone is adhering to so that Charlie can come back healthy and ready to go.
“I had basically a week of nothing,” said McAvoy. “I was told to kind of just sit around and make sure that I’m not exerting myself in any way that is going to disrupt my first week of recovery…today, I’m back here back at the rink, and we’ll be able to start doing some stuff.”
McAvoy will progress to the next steps in his rehab based on how he is feeling.
“We have a strategy for getting back up to speed, and I feel comfortable with it, starting with today being the first day,” he said. “We’re going to go at it with open communication, with Doc [Finn], the doctors at MGH, [DelNegro], obviously everyone involved. I’m not afraid to tell them exactly how I feel – if I’m ready, if I’m not – and we’ll go about it together.”
The timing of the procedure allowed McAvoy the luxury of the All-Star Break, which helped minimize the amount of games he would miss, which at this point has been only two.
“To get it done now, now I can go through not only sports, but life and I won’t have to worry about it ever again,” said McAvoy.”Even with the bye week, still would’ve been missing games, so we decided that this was a good time. It matched up well with the doctors and their availability to have a full staff there. I think we chose a great time to do it.”
McAvoy said once he is feeling good enough to return to game action it will be up to Bruce Cassidy and his staff to determine how much he plays. The rookie, however, does not expect to feel any differently.
“I have no reason to think that I would come back different. I think maybe just some time, some extra time to get back, but I’m still the same person,” said McAvoy. “I’m one week removed. I feel good…we’ll get back on the ice and see how things are going. When the time is right, I’ll get back out there.”
Everyone will be happy for Charlie to come back next week, including Charlie himself.