Vasilevskiy’s condition ‘unusual’ among hockey players

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According to Dr. Karl Illig the type of thoracic outlet syndrome, which led Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy to undergo vascular surgery on Thursday, isn’t typically found in hockey players.

The Bolts announced on Friday that Vasilevskiy would require two-to-three months of recovery time before returning to action.

“It’s unusual,” said Dr. Illig, who performed Vasilevskiy’s surgery at Tampa General Hospital. “It’s something that’s most often seen in baseball pitchers, swimmers, and tennis players. But certainly, if you’re an athlete and muscular, it becomes much more likely.”

The surgery, which was performed on the 21-year-old, has a high success rate when the thoracic outlet syndrome is diagnosed early.

“It leads to really long life success, a normal life, in 95 percent of people,” said Illig. “We’ve had pro pitchers thorwing 95 miles per hour, a Division II multiple national champion swimmer, and All American college skiier. I’d say 90-95 percent of people get back to a high level of athlete.”

Vasilevskiy made 16 appearances with the Lightning last season posting a 7-5-1 record to go along with a 2.36 G.A.A. and a .918 save percentage.