Kaleb McGary, one of the team’s first-round picks, is going to miss time for a cardiac ablation surgery. This is not a typical football injury, but per the team, he has undergone the surgery twice before.
Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, he missed 6 to 8 weeks after the last time he underwent the same procedure.
Kaleb McGary missed 6-8 weeks the last time he underwent this procedure in college. https://t.co/eDs1UdO1g5— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 31, 2019
That means McGary’s best hope would be to suit up on week one against the Minnesota Vikings. If the far end of that timeline holds, he may not suit up until the Titans game at the end of September.
It is a tough blow for the Falcons who were undoubtably hoping he would work his way into the starting spot. Ty Sambrailo has had a few rough days at camp. McGary, still needing some work to get up to NFL speed, has had some inconsistent but impressive performances. We’ve heard his aggressiveness compared to Harvey Dahl more than once.
The Falcons state NFL medical testing found no problems with McGary. Considering his medical history, he certainly underwent plenty of testing. However, it is unclear if it was ever expected he would need the procedure again. Per the Mayo Clinic, “Cardiac ablation is a procedure that can correct heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias).” Doctors use tubes to apply heat or cold to modify heart tissues that cause arrhythmia.
Benjamin Solak of The Draft Network interviewed McGary before the NFL draft, which included some discussion of his health issues (h/t to @Freetrain24 on Twitter)
The coach told him to take a seat. McGary headbutted Row 1.
It’s black for a bit. Quieter, too.
It was a heart arrhythmia called AFib — atrial fibrillation. It sent McGary’s heart into overdrive, beating so fast it was tremoring instead of pumping. McGary wasn’t getting blood anywhere — limbs, organs, brain — as his heart quivered.
“No blood flow means no activity, which means nap time.” McGary chuckles.
McGary began using medication to help with the arrhythmia, but the symptoms returned in college when he underwent two surgeries. Apparently his heart beat as fast as 300 times per minute during an episode.
McGary went down with illness-like symptoms on Tuesday. It was not believed to be serious. Now he’s scheduled for surgery.
We wish McGary good luck in his upcoming procedure. It sounds relatively minor but remains a big setback for his rookie season. He was going to need to finish out camp strong to win the starting job. Now he’s out for, at least, the rest of camp. He is now unlikely to start until much later into the season.