Buffalo Sabres forward Kyle Okposo says he is healthy again and ready for the next season after missing the last six games of 2016-17 with a concussion.
The 6-foot, 218-pound right winger made the assertion in an open letter to fans posted on the team’s website Monday.
“It’s been an interesting few months for me to say the least,” Okposo began, then explained how a routine hit in practice led to disturbing series of issues such as mood changes, an inability to sleep and a loss of appetite that led to an alarming loss of weight. Eventually, Okposo was hospitalized at Buffalo General Medical Center.
A game against Florida on March 28 turned out to be Okposo’s last of the season. He began feeling worse during the course of that game and, after speaking to coach Dan Bylsma, it was decided to scratch Okposo from the lineup for the next game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on March 29.
“I thought some rest and time off would do the trick,” Okposo said. “But even then, things didn’t improve. I went to the hospital hoping that they could find a way for me to get some sleep.
“The medications they gave me to sleep caused a negative reaction in my body. I still couldn’t sleep, and the weight loss continued at an alarming rate. At one point, I weighed less than 200 pounds. I haven’t weighed that little since I was 17. Now, the initial thought was a possible concussion.
“Intensive care is a scary place to be, but I needed a place where I could be stabilized. My doctors felt that the Neuro Surgical ICU at Buffalo General was the best place for that to happen.”
Okposo’s problems became a subject of speculation as the Sabres’ season wound down. His open letter clarified the situation surrounding his health, which had some wondering whether his hockey career was threatened.
Okposo, 29, played in a game for the first time on July 19 in a summer league in Minnesota.
“The first game itself was not good,” Okposo said. “We got whacked, 10-3. But I’ve come a long way since March and April, so it was nice to just play hockey again. I’m healthy and feel great!”
Okposo said he appreciated the support of the fans.
“Thank you for all the well wishes, prayers and support!” he said in closing. “It has meant more than you will ever know!”
Find the complete transcript of Okposo’s open letter here.