After the Sounders announced Friday that Clint Dempsey was being evaluated for an irregular heartbeat, General Manager Garth Lagerwey told reporters after the day’s training sessions that the club had been monitoring Dempsey’s condition for much of the season, but that he did not have more details at the time.
“We’ve now got the next step in the medical process and we’re gonna work with that,” Lagerwey said. “we’ve got Clint’s best interests at heart, first and foremost.” It sounds like the club is scrambling to figure out the next steps to take, and Lagerwey said that Dempsey has been “real mature and real professional about this, as always.”
Head coach Brian Schmetzer also said that when he spoke to Dempsey, “he was upbeat and positive, wants the team to do well on Sunday.” Schmetzer said that, while it’s a blow to the team to lose a player of Dempsey’s caliber, he’s focused on Sunday’s match in Portland, and hopes that the club’s bye week will give everyone the chance to “get our arms around things and figure out exactly what’s going on.”
US Soccer is apparently also working with the Sounders, and Lagerwey said that they are “all on the same page” as the club and the player on moving forward with the issue. Lagerwey stressed that the player’s health is of the utmost importance, and that the Sounders would be doing everything they can to help him figure out what’s going on. “Clint has given a great service to this club and we owe him an equal measure of respect and support as we go through this medical evaluation.”
Lagerwey also noted that Dempsey wasn’t held back from the trip to Houston for this issue, but rather because of an unspecified “knock” that he took in the previous match against the Portland Timbers.
Schmetzer told ESPN it was an “incident” during a game (possibly last Sunday’s against Portland or the game in Orlando when Dempsey played 59 minutes) that provided the data pointing to the a serious condition:
For now, it sounds like all we can do is wait, and hope that the medical professionals with the club and elsewhere can find some answers for Dempsey and his family. Lagerwey said that at this point, “we need to let the doctors do their thing now and they’ll recommend a course of treatment and we’ll go from there.”