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Cardinals’ JJ Watt emotionally speaking about heart issue: ‘I’m happy to be here’


Arizona Cardinals star JJ Watt looked emotional at his postgame news conference on Sunday following the team’s win over the Carolina Panthers.

Watt played in the game despite revealing that he needed to get his heart back into a rhythm earlier in the week. He talked about how he and his wife, football star Kealia Watt, have been looking at ultrasound photos of his son and comparing them to images of the NFL player’s heart.

“It’s been a week. I’m happy to be here. Happy to…” she said as her voice trailed off.

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Arizona Cardinals defensive end JJ Watt warms up before an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, in Charlotte, North Carolina.
(AP Photo/Rusty Jones)

Watt said before the game that his heart went into atrial fibrillation.

“I talked to cardiologists and electrophysiologists all over the country. I was assured multiple times by multiple people that there was nothing more you could do. I could play normally and something could happen the next day or never again for 20 years. So I was sure, I went back to practice on Friday and here we are,” he said.

“Obviously it’s been a very emotional week for me and my family, for my wife and myself.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, atrial fibrillation is “an irregular and often very fast heart rhythm that can lead to blood clots in the heart.” It could increase the risk of stroke, heart failure, or other heart-related complications if not addressed.

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Watt said he heard the news of his heart problem was going to be reported, so he preemptively tweeted hours before kickoff.

Arizona Cardinals defensive end JJ Watt plays against the Carolina Panthers during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Arizona Cardinals defensive end JJ Watt plays against the Carolina Panthers during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, in Charlotte, North Carolina.
(AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)

“I was just told that someone leaked personal information about me and it will be reported today. I went into A-Fib on Wednesday, my heart is back on track on Thursday and I will play today. That’s it.” she tweeted.

The Cardinals won the game. Watt had a pass deflection that led to an interception along with three tackles.

He said he didn’t know what caused the irregular heartbeat.

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Arizona Cardinals defensive end JJ Watt, #99, is pictured before an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, September 25, 2022, in Glendale, Arizona.

Arizona Cardinals defensive end JJ Watt, #99, is pictured before an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, September 25, 2022, in Glendale, Arizona.
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

“I’ve obviously had surgeries before and injuries before,” he added. “And I’ve never been nervous about any of them. I’ve never been afraid of anesthesia. I’ve never been afraid of pain. But when they told me they were going to turn me off and electrocute my heart, I was scared.”

Associated Press contributed to this report.



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