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Letang's Full Transcript on Stroke

Thursday, 02.27.2014 / 1:45 PM / Features
Pittsburgh Penguins

Below is the full transcript of Kris Letang's media session today to discuss his stroke.

On how he is feeling and how this has affected him:
I feel like I have some good days, bad days. I’ve said to many people I’m going day by day to get to 100 percent. I think the most difficult thing was being around family. Everybody is really careful, like I can't even lift the luggage (for our vacation) without them trying to help me out. Otherwise it’s just been mentally a little bit tough.

On what he means by bad days, if that's physical and if he's still having some of the same symptoms as before:
Yeah, exactly. It’s not as bad as when it happened, but there’s symptoms to it. Some days it’s stronger and sometimes it’s lower.

On if he's having challenging days mentally:
Yeah, especially with the family. I think that’s the main thing. For my part, I always want to get back and play games. Like right now I would like to step on the ice and play, but there’s many things that hold me through that and certainly my family is really worried. That was a difficult part to manage, when you see your mom crying or your wife, any of my family members. It’s always a tough thing to handle.

On if it is conceivable for him to come back this year or if he's targeting next year as a likely possibility:
I’m targeting it day by day. I’m trying to improve every day I come here. I try to exercise the best I can. I see doctors pretty much every week, twice a week to get better. So we’ll go from there.

On what happens after he gets off the blood thinners and if he'll have to have surgery to correct the hole in his heart:
For now we've got to stay on the blood thinners. I think in two or three weeks I’m meeting them again. I will go through another battery of tests and we’ll take the decision from there. But for now we’re keeping that like this.

On if the hole in his heart is related to his migraines:
We talked about it a little bit, but that was not our main problem. This hole in the heart, it might have been the cause (of the migraines) but they’re not 100 percent sure. We don’t really want to worry about that for now.

On how important it is to be in the locker room environment: 
It’s important. I mean, I don’t want to hang out at home. I mean, it’s fun -- I have my son and he’s growing fast. It’s been fun watching him going, but being around the team and coming into the rink, working out, seeing doctors, I feel like I’m trying to make steps and getting closer to coming back at one point.

On if the symptoms were something that took a while and that he noticed over time or if it was one episode:
No, it's one day that I woke up and my wife found me on the ground. That’s how it worked.

On if it was the day before the team flew to Los Angeles:
Yeah, it was the morning. I was getting ready to go to LA with my mom, obviously for the mom’s trip, and that’s how it happened.”

On if he felt like he was just ill or if there was something more wrong:
No, like the day before I was totally fine, I was practicing. I woke up that morning not expecting that would happen and it went like this. Actually, I went in my car with my mom and went to Los Angeles and thought it would clear up, but it never did.”

On if his wife called 911 when she found him:
No, actually, her mom was there and her mom is a nurse, so she took care of me.

On if he was out when they found him:
No, I was just not able to function.

On how hard it was for him to believe a person his age could have a stroke:
It’s tough to believe, but a lot of people say I’m in that percentage, that .01. Honestly when I found out, I kind of didn’t really believe it. Well, first I didn’t understand the word (stroke), so I had to call my wife and ask her what it was because she went to school in English. So I kind of figured it out and from there, I mean, you just think if you’re going to be alright, if I’m going to have the chance to play hockey again. But I was surrounded by great doctors, they took great care of me and all my questions were answered. So I feel like I'm making progress.

On if he's talked to other people in his age range who have also had something like this:
No, not for now. I’ve been focusing on just talking with my doctors, going to rehab, and things I need to rehab.

On if the doctors have assured him he'll be able to play hockey again at some point whether it's this year or not:
Yeah, they said being 26 and having a stroke, it’s actually a small percentage, but the chance that I get back to normal is really high. So they kind of reassured me that I will play again.

On how much taking care of the hole in his heart has to do with him getting back to normal, if at all:
The hole in the heart actually is not a problem because I’ve been living with it for 26 years and I’ve never had a problem with that, conditioning-wise or anything like that.  So the symptoms that I'm experiencing right now are from that stroke, what it damaged or did to my brain. So for now, it’s just worrying about my head.

On if he is going to table the thought of a surgery on his heart:
We already talked about it, that’s something that we’re not focusing on right now.

On what he is able to do in terms of working out:
I started (exercising). Light stuff, no weights. Right now we’re trying to intensify things, trying to teach my head and my body how to react to workouts or intense workouts so I get back to normal quicker.

On if it's kind of like dealing with a concussion:
Kind of, yeah. You can see it like that. Except the concussion, you don’t want to get too many symptoms. In that case, you want to push yourself so your brain can try to compensate for what it’s unable to do right now.

On what this season been like for him with all of the injuries:
I’m going to say it’s not really a good season for me. Not really lucky. Two of (my injuries) were kind of bad luck, but honestly, if I have the chance to come back this year and play, it’s going to be great. I want to make sure I forget all about the three-quarters of the season I missed.

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