When Minnesota Vikings linebacker Cameron Smith was tested for COVID-19 in early August, he tested positive, but that’s not all the doctors found. Further testing revealed something that could have killed him if it wasn’t detected: a congenital heart defect.
Smith, 23, announced on August 8 that as a result of COVID testing, doctors discovered that he was born with a bicuspid aortic valve, a condition that caused his heart to be “severely enlarged.” On Instagram, Smith said that his heart “wouldn’t have lasted much longer” if the defect hadn’t been found.
The fix for Smith’s defect was open-heart surgery. It would put him out of commission for the 2020 season, which would have been just his second season in the NFL, but he would be able to get back to football as soon as he’s recovered.
That recovery starts now. Smith announced on Instagram on Tuesday that he underwent successful open-heart surgery and is ready to start making his way back to the field as soon as he’s able.
Smith hopes to help Vikings in 2020
Smith had the surgery in Philadelphia, where he’ll start on a 12-week rehab program. After that, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said that Smith wants to come back to Minnesota and help out the team in any way that he can.
“He’ll come to meetings, he’ll draw [play] cards, he’ll help with the scout team, anything,” Zimmer told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “We’re hopeful he comes back and he’s able to play football, but more importantly, he looks like he’s going to be great in health.”
Smith may not be able to play football in 2020, but not even open heart surgery can stop him from helping his teammates.
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