Baseball is a great escape, and while we passionately follow teams and players, there are always stark reminders that it really is just a game, and there are far more important things.
These players have lives that extend beyond the field of play. The well-being of athletes needs to be prioritized above their ability to hit with runners in scoring position or induce ground balls.
Kenley Jansen has long been an elite closer, but more important than that, he’s a father and a son and a crucial component of many people’s lives.
His heart issues these last handful of years have really been quite terrifying, and he has decided to undergo surgery to correct his irregular heartbeat.
The surgery will take place on November 26, and the recovery time is expected to be anywhere from two weeks to eight weeks.
This is the second time that Jansen has elected surgery to combat this issue, as he had a similar procedure after the 2012 season.
While it’s obviously not the top concern for him right now, the Dodgers are anticipating that he’ll be ready to go in time for Spring Training.
The irregular heartbeat has plagued Jansen at different points during his career, and hopefully, this surgery goes a long way in ensuring that this malady is a thing of the past.
He was first diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat in 2011 and ended up missing some time that season when he was prescribed blood thinners.
He sidelined again with the heart issues in 2012, and in October of that year, he underwent a procedure where tissue in his left atrium was cauterized to correct the generation of abnormal electrical signals.
The problem emerged again in August of this year. Increased elevation can exacerbate the irregular heartbeat, and the Dodgers were in Colorado when Jansen began having problems with it again.
It was an extremely scary moment. Doctors were able to shock his heart back into rhythm after Jansen went to the hospital.
Athletes take a lot of pride in excelling at their craft, but Jansen was essentially forced to sacrifice playing at his highest level to make sure his heart was okay.
He was given blood thinners as part of his treatment, but the medication made him weaker and his performance on the mound was negatively impacted.
Athletes never like to make excuses for poor performances caused by injury, but people certainly understand what Jansen was going through.
He eventually got clearance to get off the medication, but it still illustrated the uncomfortable dilemma of an athlete committed to success on the field while also balancing long-term health off the field.
Life is more important than baseball, and Jansen should take all the time he needs to recover from this very serious procedure.
The entire baseball world is rooting for a successful surgical procedure and for Jansen to retake the field better than ever.
Jansen happens to be one of the premier closers in baseball, but he’s a human being first and foremost and needs to do everything he can do to be there for his family and friends long into the future.