Bryant returns after health scare

Posted Oct 7, 2013

Cleveland Browns defensive lineman Desmond Bryant returned to the practice field Monday after being removed from last Thursday's game with shortness of breath and an irregular heartbeat.

Cleveland Browns defensive end Desmond Bryant was well on his way to controlling the line of scrimmage in the team’s 37-24 win over the Buffalo Bills on NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football last week, when, at halftime, he experienced shortness of breath and an irregular heartbeat.

After undergoing observations, both on the field and in the hospital, Bryant was cleared to participate in on-field work Monday.

“It’s a pretty scary feeling when your heart won’t calm down,” Bryant said after Monday’s practice. “Fortunately, we’ve got a great staff on hand, and they’ve got me doing the right things I need to do.

“I’m pretty confident. We’re doing some things to prevent it from happening again. I need to try to cut out anything that may start this up, as well as taking some medication to help prevent it.”

Bryant registered two tackles and had two quarterback hurries before the shortness of breath and increased heart rate began to take hold.

After one series in the second half, Bryant talked to the Browns’ head athletic trainer, Joe Sheehan, and was removed from the game. After on-field evaluations, Bryant was sent to Cleveland Clinic, where he spent the night for observations.

“I just felt that my heart was beating fast,” Bryant recalled. “I felt like I was a little short of breath, and I told Joe, and ended up at the hospital. It stayed elevated for a while.”

Bryant experienced a similar episode when he was with the Oakland Raiders last season. Prior to the episode in Oakland, and the one last Thursday against the Bills, Bryant had never experienced an irregular heartbeat or had shortness of breath during a game.

“It was the same thing, heart beating fast to the point where I felt like I should get checked out,” Bryant said. “Both times I got checked out, they ended up sending me to the hospital.

“I haven’t been getting treatments, but this time, we’re doing some things to make sure it doesn’t happen again. The doctor I was talking to (at Cleveland Clinic) told me he had seen four other athletes in the same 24-hour period with the same thing. He’s familiar with it, and he knows how to get guys better.”

After going through the evaluation period, Bryant is confident he can return to form quickly, and that the irregular heartbeat will not impact his ability to play going forward.

“I’m not worried about it,” Bryant said. “Obviously, it was the second time it happened. I had hoped it’d be a one-time thing, but it happened again, so now, I’ll take more steps to prevent it in the future and I’m confident in the course of action the doctors are taking.

“After that, I was able to play at a high level, and I’m confident I’ll do the same thing now.”

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