Pittsburgh Penguins’ Pascal Dupuis talks Miami Heat’s Chris Bosh, blood clots
Former Pittsburgh Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis does not know Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat personally, but Dupuis knows plenty about blood clots, a condition which forced the 36-year-old Dupuis into an early retirement in December and one that is currently keeping the 31-year-old Bosh off the court for the Heat.
Bosh’s clot is the second of his career. He first suffered from blood clots when he developed a pulmonary embolism in February 2015, which ended his season.
Dupuis’s first blood clot came in January 2014 when he developed one in his leg after suffering a serious knee injury. The clot damaged a vein in Dupuis’s calf, but after six months on blood thinners, Dupuis was able to return to the ice for the 2014-15 season. But in November of 2014, Dupuis suffered a pulmonary embolism — a blood clot in his lung — and played for five games before finally admitting to team doctors that he had a second blood clot. Dupuis was placed back on blood thinners and missed the remainder of the season.
Dupuis returned this season on a protocol of medication that has worked for other players, but it didn’t work for the Penguin, who was pulled from multiple games with medical conditions related to the blood clot protocol. Dupuis and the Penguins medical staff ultimately decided in December that playing continued to pose a risk to the father of four’s health, and that risk was not worth playing through anymore.
"My wife could barely watch the games this year when I went back and played on the protocol," Dupuis told FOX Sports in a phone interview recently. "You want to have your family with you when you’re playing, but my family could barely watch because they were so worried. It would have been selfish if I would have kept playing. I think we as a family made the right decision of my playing days being over for sure."
There are some similarities between Bosh and Dupuis’ conditions. Like Dupuis, Bosh reportedly has a blood clot in his calf, but because there is not as much physical contact in basketball as there is in hockey, Bosh is not automatically ruled out for six months while on blood-thinning treatment the way a player with blood clots in hockey would be.
Bosh first developed an issue with blood clots last season when he suffered a pulmonary embolism. Like Dupuis, Bosh initially did not tell doctors about the shortness of breath and chest pain he was suffering due to a desire to keep competing. Once Bosh told doctors about his symptoms, he was ruled out for the rest of the 2014-15 season.
Dupuis said the reluctance to admit to an injury — even a serious one like a pulmonary embolism — is in some ways part of being a professional athlete.
"That’s basically what we’re taught growing up; there’s an injury but the team needs you, and you want to compete," Dupuis said.
Like Dupuis, Bosh has a wife and children at home to think about. He is a two-time NBA champion with the Heat and won an Olympic gold medal with Team USA at the 2008 Summer Games. Dupuis said those accolades won’t necessarily make it any easier for Bosh to call it quits.
Dupuis won a Stanley Cup championship with the Penguins in 2009, but he said there is always a voice in the back of his head saying he could win more, that he could continue to compete. Dupuis has remained with the team in more of an advisory role after retiring, and although he said he is "doing great" health-wise and only takes a pill each day to manage his condition, he admitted it is difficult for him to go to the rink and not be able to lace up his skates alongside his teammates.
Then Dupuis goes home to tuck his four kids into bed and spend time with his wife, and he remembers why he made the decision to retire.
Dupuis said because he does not know the specifics of Bosh’s condition, he does not know exactly what he would say to Bosh if given the chance. Still, Dupuis had one piece of advice for Bosh.
"Every situation is different, so really just listen to the doctors and listen to your body," Dupuis said. "Really just listen to your body."
Arielle Aronson writes about the NHL for FOX Sports. You can follow her on Twitter @aharonson28.