J.J. Watt says he’s playing 4 days after atrial fibrillation

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt says he had his heart shocked into rhythm after going into atrial fibrillation this week, and he still plans to play Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.

The three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year tweeted Sunday, “I was just told somebody leaked some personal information about me and it’s going to be reported on today. I went into A-Fib on Wednesday, had my heart shocked back into rhythm on Thursday and I’m playing today. That’s it.”

The Cardinals reported Watt did not practice on Wednesday and Thursday and was limited on Friday. He was listed as questionable due to a calf injury and an illness.

The 33-year-old Watt is a five-time All-Pro and the 2017 Walter Payton Man of the Year.

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Atrial fibrillation is defined as a “an irregular and often very rapid heart rhythm that can lead to blood clots in the heart,” according to the Mayo Clinic. That can increase the risk of stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications if not properly addressed.

Watt is returning quickly from a health scare as the league faces critcism for the handling of concussed Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa over the past week.

The NFL Players Association on Saturday fired the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant who cleared Tagovailoa to play after he slammed his head on the turf and stumbled trying to walk it off, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press. The person confirmed the firing on condition of anonymity because a joint review by the NFL and its players’ union into Tagovailoa’s quick return to that game is ongoing.

Watt had missed the first game of the year with his calf injury but has played in the last two games. He has Arizona’s only two sacks this season.

Watt has 104 sacks during his NFL career.

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