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Lauri Markkanen thinks stress from near-accident may have caused irregular heartbeat


It was only one year ago since Chicago Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen saw his 2018-19 season come to an end after just 52 games. A case of an irregular heartbeat while facing the Toronto Raptors on the road spelled the end of his second season in the league, one he believes was caused by stress.

As he headed to the Advocate Center prior to the game, a car ran a red light and almost hit him broadside at a high rate of speed, a near-death experience Markkanen thinks could have partly caused his heart to beat irregularly, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago.

Markkanen hasn’t been the same since, going from having 20-10 upside to a mere stand-still shooter in Bulls coach Jim Boylen’s offensive system.

A team release that cited doctors from Rush University Medical Center and John Hopkins University reported his symptoms “to be primarily related to a combination of dehydration and nutrient deficiency.”

Markkanen gave up red meat 2.5 years ago, to have a similar diet as his wife, a vegan. He’s also grown apart from dairy products. The 7-footer is convinced food wasn’t the issue:

“It wasn’t because of my diet because I was doing this diet a long time before that (heart incident),” Markkanen said in a recent interview. “I have a chef. He makes sure I get the right amount of protein.”

Markkanen even pointed to the last day he ever had a steak:

“You can look it up. My rookie year, we played at Indiana during December. I went to (a steakhouse) right next to the hotel. That was my last steak,” Markkanen said of the Dec. 6, 2017 game. “I was thinking about it before and that’s when I decided I wanted to move away. I couldn’t move after eating that.

A near-car accident of that kind is bound to get anyone thinking. There’s not a way to truly know, but if Markkanen was on high-tilt due to a near-death experience hours prior to the game, it could certainly have played a role in his condition.