Vikings LB Cameron Smith reveals he needs open-heart surgery, will miss 2020 season

Minnesota Vikings linebacker Cameron Smith will miss the upcoming 2020 season after learning he needs open-heart surgery, he revealed Saturday via Instagram.

A fifth-round pick in the 2019 NFL draft, Smith said he requires a procedure to fix a bicuspid aortic valve, a congenital heart condition in which the aorta has only two cusps instead of three. The condition apparently left Smith with a “severely enlarged” heart and needed treatment soon. Smith says the surgery will allow him to play football again once he is cleared.

Smith reportedly learned of the condition only while undergoing additional testing required after his positive COVID-19 test. The Vikings placed him on the reserve/COVID-19 list last week.

“The Lord works in mysterious ways,” Smith wrote on his Instagram page:

Cameron Smith’s full statement on open-heart surgery:

Earlier this week I found out I need open heart surgery to fix a bicuspid aortic valve that I was born with. Although this will unfortunately end my 2020 season, it is really a blessing that we found this as my heart is severely enlarged and wouldn’t have lasted much longer. I found this out after I tested positive for COVID and had to have further testing done as protocol. The Lord works in mysterious ways, but I could really feel him on this one!🙏🏻

There is a surgery that will allow me to continue to play football as soon as I am healed and cleared and I didn’t think twice about going with that one. By no means am I ready to be done playing football, there is still so much more I want to accomplish on the field. Im going to attack this like everything else I have in life. Already looking forward to the comeback! #SKOL

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - AUGUST 09: Cameron Smith #59 of the Minnesota Vikings during a preseason game at the Mercedes Benz Superdome on August 09, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
A COVID-19 diagnosis might have saved Cameron Smith from serious heart problems. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

Smith was a four-year starter at USC before his NFL career, racking up 354 tackles for the Trojans and earning All-Pac-12 honors in three seasons. He appeared in just five games for the Vikings in his rookie year, recording eight tackles.

Smith was poised to compete for backup duty at linebacker again this season, but will instead face a much more important battle.

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