Charlie McAvoy watches Jay Bouwmeester’s situation with heart condition experience

Matt Kalman
February 15, 2020 - 9:02 am

Jay Bouwmeester’s cardiac episode on the bench during the St. Louis Blues-Anaheim Ducks game Tuesday, and the heroic actions of first responders and the training staff to resuscitate the Blues defenseman had the rest of the NHL riveted.

Considering the surprising nature of the event, players around the league watched with worry and concern for both Bouwmeester and themselves.

While his experience with a heart condition was nowhere near as serious, Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy was among those reflecting on things after hearing about and seeing what happened in Anaheim.

“Honestly it scares the hell out of me and I’m sure everybody else,” McAvoy told WEEI.com. “You know I’m sure no one saw that coming, so it’s kind of something you can’t really prepare for I guess. Just say your prayers and hope that you’re healthy honestly. That’s it.

“Unbelievable job by those people to essentially save his life. Hats off to those people and thank God for them, and they were able to call to action and do that. It’s scary, it honestly is. It’s really, really scaring. And I was thinking about it before the game (Wednesday) because it was so recent. It makes you really re-evaluate and think about it in a different way.”

In 2018, McAvoy was diagnosed with a supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) that was causing palpitations with a high risk of recurrence. So he underwent a procedure at Mass General Hospital. As he described it, he had two valves where he should’ve had one and that was getting his heart rate occasionally stuck “on a high point, like 130, 140. And just annoying really, and a little scary because whenever your heart’s in play you’re not sure. But the people at MGH did an outstanding job, thankful to them. And ever since then I’ve been fine.”

Bouwmeester, the Blues announced, has since had an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) procedure, essentially inserting a pacemaker in his heart. He’s still under evaluation by the medical team and there will be an update on his status next week.

Like his teammates and the rest of the league, McAvoy couldn’t avoid the Bouwmeester news and he’ll be following his fellow defenseman’s plight as it’s revealed. His experiences, though, haven’t made McAvoy more interested in reading up on heart conditions and the like. Let’s face it, anything related to the heart has to be hard to think about for a 22-year-old with a past heart condition and a big future ahead.

“Honestly, I think it still terrifies me. You think about the heart, because that’s the one thing – I guess there’s a couple things – but that’s a thing that if it’s not working you’re in trouble,” he said.

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