Unvaccinated Josh Archibald out indefinitely with COVID-related condition

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Oilers forward Josh Archibald, who declined the vaccine ahead of this season, is dealing with a serious heart condition linked to a bout with COVID-19. (Getty)
Oilers forward Josh Archibald, who declined the vaccine ahead of this season, is dealing with a serious heart condition linked to a bout with COVID-19. (Getty)

It bears repeating: COVID-19 is something you want to avoid.

The Edmonton Oilers announced over the weekend that depth forward Josh Archibald, who had been staunchly against and hadn't received the vaccine, is suffering from a serious long-term ailment linked to having had COVID-19.

Archibald had to quarantine for 14 days upon returning to Edmonton after an offseason spent in the United States. In the final week, Archibald reportedly fell ill with a severe viral infection. He did return to the ice eventually, but wasn't feeling right, which prompted a variety of tests from team doctors. It was determined then that after a summer bout with COVID-19, he was suffering from myocarditis, or the inflammation of his heart muscle.

Myocarditis has been reasonably common among athletes who have contracted COVID-19, and a condition Archibald should be familiar with. The 29-year-old's teammate and Oilers depth netminder Alex Stalock was diagnosed with it last year and is not expected to play again this season. 

Myocarditis increases the chance of sudden cardiac death.

Archibald is the Oilers' lone unvaccinated player, though Duncan Keith reluctantly accepted it last month. It seems unlikely that Archibald would roll up his sleeve anyway, but he is now ineligible to receive the jab due to his condition.

Edmonton will receive $1.5 million in cap relief with Archibald destined for long-term injured reserve. It's a stretch to believe that money could easily replace his utility services, of which include an important role among the penalty killers.

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