CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt played four days after having his heart shocked into rhythm after going into atrial fibrillation.
He described the health issue in an emotional post-game press conference, ESPN reported.
Watt played in Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers. He played 41 of 51 defensive snaps and finished with three tackles and two batted passes in the Cardinals’ 26-16 victory over the Panthers.
Watt, 33, a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year winner, tweeted the news media shortly after noon EDT on Sunday, four hours before the Cardinals were to face the Panthers in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“I was just told somebody leaked some personal information about me and it’s going to be reported on today,” Watt tweeted. “I went into A-Fib on Wednesday, had my heart shocked back into rhythm on Thursday and I’m playing today.
Watt, a five-time All-Pro and the 2017 Walter Payton Man of the Year, missed practice Wednesday and Thursday for what the Cardinals listed as “calf/illness” on their injury report, ESPN reported.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, atrial fibrillation is “an irregular heart rhythm that begins in your heart’s upper chambers.”
Watt’s announcement comes after the NFL is facing criticism for the league’s handling of Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa over the past week. Tagovailoa suffered a concussion Thursday night against Cincinnati, four days after he also hit his head on the turf during a Sept. 25 game against the Buffalo Bills.
The consultant involved in evaluating Tagovailoa during a concussion check against the Bills was fired by the NFL Players Association after the union found “multiple mistakes” in the process, the Miami Herald reported.
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