Miami DB Al Blades reveals he has season-ending heart issue

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — Miami defensive back Al Blades Jr. said Tuesday he will miss at least three months after being diagnosed with inflammation of the heart.

Blades said the myocarditis diagnosis came after doctors were concerned about some bloodwork that came back while he was “going through some COVID protocols.” Blades said doctors made the diagnosis after an MRI was performed.

It’s common for athletes to undergo cardiac exams after contracting the coronavirus as part of a return-to-play protocol — with myocarditis something that is often looked for in those additional tests.

Miami has had several players, along with coach Manny Diaz, test positive for the virus in recent weeks. It had two games rescheduled because of those results and other complications related to contact tracing and possible exposure.

“It hurts not to be out there with my brothers, but I will always be a Hurricane,” Blades wrote in a message posted to social media. “I’m looking forward to returning to the field in 2021.”

Blades had appeared in all 34 of Miami’s games in his three seasons at the school before missing last weekend’s game at Duke because of the health concerns. He was one of 15 Miami players unavailable for that game.

Blades appeared in eight games for Miami this season, leading the team with two interceptions and seven pass breakups. He also had 29 tackles for the ninth-ranked Hurricanes (8-1, 7-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who host No. 20 North Carolina on Saturday.

He’s the son of late former Miami defensive back Al Blades Sr. and the nephew of past Hurricanes stars Bennie Blades and Brian Blades.

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