New York Ranger Jed Ortmeyer ignored a lot of people. He ignored his mother, a cardiac nurse, when she told him to call his trainer after he coughed up blood. He ignored his doctor who told him his hockey career was over because he had a rare disorder and blood clots in both lungs.
“All I was thinking about was getting back on the ice at Madison Square Garden,” he recalls. “You gotta die somewhere, right?”
Ortmeyer lived to play. Hockey, to him, was heaven. He rehabbed for half a year—often practicing alone because any cut could make him bleed out—signed a waiver and got back on the ice under a strict regimen of blood thinners.
For almost 10 years after his diagnosis, he kept playing while his family begged him to stop.
What finally made him quit? A baby daughter on the way. Now Ortmeyer and his wife run a company that helps athletes transition to new careers.
— Adapted from “The feeling you’d die for,” Jed Ortmeyer, The Players’ Tribune.