In the NHL we’ve heard our fair share of stories about players having nagging injury problems that can slow down their progress or waylay their careers in ways that make life hard for them. Think of the players through the years that would have chronic knee problems or issues with their shoulders or groins. Hockey’s a hard game and living the life can be rough.
Picture then what it must be like for Capitals defenseman Tom Poti. The 33 year-old native of Worcester, Mass. has had his share of injury troubles in his career but nothing has been as personally troubling for him as his battles with severe allergies have been. If you think having a trick knee makes life difficult, imagine what it’s like having to clear out of the room if someone’s eating peanut butter. Poti’s career has been made trickier with such issues but he soldiers on regardless. Joseph White of the Associated Press tells the story.
No nuts. No chocolate. No fish. Nothing from the ocean. No MSG. Most spices and sauces are verboten. Everything he eats has to be cooked in separate, clean utensils. It’s been this way since he began eating solid food as a toddler, when he would break out in hives, rashes and have other problems at nearly every feeding.
“They finally ended up taking me to an allergist. I almost died from the testing it was so bad,” Poti said. “Nowadays they test for just one thing at a time, back then they’d test for everything (at once). I had to get filled up with adrenaline, things like that.
“They finally figured out what I could have and I couldn’t have, and I’ve just been doing that ever since.”
You think of all the things hockey players have to deal with on the ice and how when they’re off of it it has to feel like a refuge from the manic insanity of everything that goes on in a hockey game. Poti doesn’t quite have that same luxury though in having to keep himself safe from just about everything imaginable.
It’s pretty incredible to see how he deals with everything when living life on the road and the perils both obvious and hidden that could cause him to go into anaphylactic shock. For now, Poti is happy being able to rejoin the Capitals on the ice knowing full well that he’s got it all under control off of it.