Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Pascal Dupuis revealed in a post for The Player's Tribune that he played five games with a blood clot in his lung last November.
Dupuis was diagnosed with the blood clot that month, and the team announced that he would be sidelined for six months. It was the second time the winger was found to have a blood clot that year; he was also treated for one in January while he was recovering from a torn ACL.
In his post, Dupuis talks about how his mentality as a hockey player had trained him to hide pain. Because of that mentality, he kept his January blood clot diagnosis from his teammates and the press until the second incident and tried to keep playing through the pain in November.
"It’s easy to say that family comes first," he wrote. "I absolutely love my my children and my wife. But the mentality of a professional hockey player is that you never admit that you're human. You never admit pain, especially if it’s pain that no one can see."
Dupuis said he spent last summer training "like an absolute madman" to come back from his ACL injury and get in shape. So when he felt a chest pain that went through his body "like a bolt of lightning" in practice shortly after being cleared, he played through it. He played the next five games on a road trip, and said the moment he knew he needed to get help was when he returned to his family.
"We were on the road. I was away from my family, around the guys doing what I love. It was easy to be in denial," Dupuis wrote. "Then the road trip ended and we returned to Pittsburgh. When I walked in the door and saw my wife and kids again, that was it."
Dupuis is still recovering from the blood clot, and has been helping out the team with scouting and from the press box. The 35-year-old vowed to play in the NHL again, whether it takes "six months or a year or two years."
- Molly Geary