Last Friday, Wesley Matthews pulled himself out of the Blazers’ practice because his heart was racing. The irregular heart beat required electrical intervention and kept him out of Portland’s preseason finale as a precaution. Now he has been cleared to take part in the Blazers’ regular season opener against the Phoenix Suns, though, in an interview for Blazers Edge, Matthews addressed what he believes to have caused of the arrhythmia.
It’s probably a combination of things, stress, fatigue, you know I don’t sleep. I talked to [Blazers GM] Neil [Olshey] and [trainer] Geoff [Clark] and we’re putting something together with that. I was just practicing, felt fine, felt great. We were shooting free throws and I felt my heart racing, like it was trying to jump out of my chest. I kept playing for a little bit and then I pulled myself out. It was a whirlwind of events after that.
I think we can all relate to being stressed, fatigued, and needing more sleep, but how bad is it that it’s affecting his health? Professional athletes are handled with the utmost care when it comes to the physical demands on their bodies. Wesley Matthews passed all the preseason testing just fine (stress echo, ECG, etc) three weeks earlier, but somewhere between then and now the pressure of the coming season became a little too much.
Actually, that’s putting words in his mouth. It could very well be that there are a variety of other stressors in his life that we don’t know about. However, I would hazard a guess that being just one day removed from the Blazers’ season opener now, basketball is probably at the forefront of his mind. As of last week, Wesley Matthews has an action plan to solve his sleep problems and prevent any further snowballing of the issue:
We’re going to definitely monitor it. Keep tabs on it. But it’s basically how I feel. I’m going to get a heart monitor later today to track it and see if everything’s okay. I’m going to see a sleep specialist and get hooked up on one of those chambers. Just make sure we’re covering all of our bases.
Hopefully seeing a specialist will help Wes get some Z’s. Meeting the expectations of an entire city (and beyond) will put pressure on anyone. This could make an already difficult task even more difficult. As any insomniac will tell you, the harder you focus on sleep, the less likely you will reach it. So Wesley – take it as easy as your schedule will allow, do what the doctor tells you, and rest up. The Trail Blazers need you out there.