ESPN: Jerry West knew there was something amiss with his body during his playing days with the Los Angeles Lakers.
He would have to breathe into a paper bag during games to keep from hyperventilating. He couldn’t sleep. His heart sometimes felt out of rhythm.
Years later, he would learn that he was suffering from atrial fibrillation, a heart rhythm disturbance.
“An athlete is well aware with what’s going on in his body. I knew there was something wrong,” the Hall of Fame guard told The Associated Press. “I wonder if they tested me now, would they have said I couldn’t have played?”
For the first time Monday, West discussed in detail his five-decade battle with the condition that led him to retire from the Lakers’ front office nine years ago. It’s a disease that disproportionally affects the elderly, but the man whose silhouette graces the NBA logo said he has been dealing with it since his 20s.
“I pretty much have kept it hidden over the years,” West said.