Canadian Olympian diagnosed with heart failure, possible exposure to COVID-19

Olympic soccer star Karina LeBlanc diagnosed with pleural effusion

Soccer star Karina Leblanc announced B.C. Summer Games for Maple Ridge in 2017. (THE NEWS/files)

Maple Ridge soccer star Karina LeBlanc announced on Sunday that she has been possibly been exposed to COVID-19 after a stay in hospital where she learned she is suffering from heart failure.

In a social media post dated April 5, LeBlanc said she is asking for prayers.

“I’ve had a difficult last couple of days,” the new mother began in a video post.

“You know we gave birth to baby Paris just over a week ago, which was amazing. She is happy and healthy,” she said.

But, after the former team Canada goaltender got home from the hospital she started having symptoms of shortness of breath along with some “weird” things going on with her body.

When the symptoms didn’t stop after a couple of days she contacted her doctor who told her to get to the hospital as quickly as possible.

Doctors there diagnosed her with pleural effusion brought on by heart failure, said the Maple Ridge native.

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, pleural effusion is an abnormal buildup of fluid in the pleural cavity, the space between the lungs and the chest wall.

READ MORE: Maple Ridge Olympian shares message about body image with maternity photos

However, during her stay at the hospital, “there was a COVID-19 passing”, and LeBlanc said, there is a possibility that she was exposed to the virus.

LeBlanc, 40, was the first Canadian player to take part in five FIFA World Cups. The charismatic goalkeeper played for Canada from 1998 to 2015, retiring as the second-longest serving member in women’s national team history.

LeBlanc won 110 caps for Canada, collecting six CONCACAF medals and two Pan American Games medals in addition to the 2012 Olympic bronze. She finished her career with a Canadian-record 47 clean sheets.

Currently LeBlanc is at home, quarantined in a separate room from her husband and new born baby, Paris, where she will be for the next eight days.

“I am separated from Paris and my husband,” said LeBlanc.

READ MORE: Karina LeBlanc named to Canada Soccer Hall of Fame

“So I can’t hold her, touch her, put her down for bed at night. Which is really difficult for a mom who has just given birth,” added LeBlanc, who is also anxious about the possibility she has contracted COVID-19.

“Obviously my system’s not as healthy as it usually is with having liquids in my lungs and whatnot,” she said.

The drive to the hospital was the most difficult, said LeBlanc, because her daughter held onto her finger for the ride.

“You have that moment that you want to around for her life,” she said trying to hold back tears.

LeBlanc then reminded her followers to enjoy their time with loved ones.

“Just keep loving and helping others where ever you can, and being of service to others where ever you can. Even if that means picking up the phone and calling somebody and telling them that you love them or you are sorry,” she said.


 

cflanagan@mapleridgenews.com

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