Winnipegger DJ Lalama will fulfill the dream of his life and play for the team of his native city after he coped with a life-threatening illness.
On Saturday, he signed a contract with Bombers, although not so long ago not only his football career but also his life hung in the balance. He got a shoulder injury while training with the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes and did not even suspect to what serious consequences it might lead.
“My shoulder popped out,” he said. “When it popped out, it basically tore everything around it, so right away I knew it was pretty severe. The doctor there told me my season was done. It’s one of those funny things that happens in sports. You do it 100 times every day, and there’s just the one time it doesn’t want to work out for you.”
The resulting injury seriously reduced the athlete's physical activity. This in turn led to the formation of a dangerous blood clot in his body.
“I got diagnosed with an abnormality in terms of blood clot formations,” he said. “Basically, I’m more susceptible to forming blood clots, whether it be from inactivity, in planes, long car rides… so with my shoulder surgery and being immobile for a while there, a blood clot had formed. By the time I had all the symptoms, it had reached my right lung, which for many reasons is pretty scary.”
Doctors managed to remove the clot in time and saved his life. Now the athlete is ready to return to the field and promises to be more careful with his health. By the way, linebacker Lalama greatly played for Manitoba Bisons in the past.
“Everything now is just bonus,” he said. “It’s just the gravy on top of it all. Nine of 10 people with the symptoms I had probably aren’t making it, so now to play football – to do it for your city, for your hometown, to do it for a great organization, a great fanbase – it’s crazy. It was a dream come true putting pen to paper and being able to put on that jersey and wear that helmet in front of your family and friends. Nothing gets better than that.”
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