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Lions great Barry Sanders says he experienced ‘health scare,’ stresses importance of ‘physical well-being’

Pro Football Hall of Famer Barry Sanders recently revealed that he faced a “health scare.”

The legendary Detroit Lions running back said he recently dealt with a health issue. “Over Father’s Day weekend, I experienced a health scare related to my heart,” Sanders wrote in a statement posted to social media.

Although he stopped short of providing exact details about the health condition, he did emphasize the importance of remaining “vigilant” about “physical well-being.”

“It was unexpected and served as a reminder of the importance of staying vigilant about our physical well-being, even when we are feeling fine,” Sanders noted.

Sanders also thanked the medical staff for taking care of him.

“I am grateful for the amazing doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals for providing me with needed care. My family and I are thankful for your prayers and support during this time.” 


The Lions shared well-wishes via a social media post that read, “Get well soon Barry.”


Sanders spent his entire storied career with the Lions, before unexpectedly walking away from the NFL after the 1998 season. He finished his career with 15,269 rushing yards.

Barry Sanders vs Bucs

Since retirement, Sanders has acted as an ambassador for the Lions. He made an appearance at the NFL Draft in April. The event took place in downtown Detroit.

The Lions defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the divisional round in January to earn a spot in the NFC Championship game for the first time since the 1991 season. Sanders was on hand for the NFC title game against the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, California, and served as the game’s honorary captain.

Barry Sanders watches Lions-Seahawks

Last September, the Lions immortalized Sanders when the team unveiled a statue. Sanders’ statue was placed outside of Ford Field, the Lions home stadium.

Sanders rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of his 10 seasons in the NFL.

He received Pro Bowl honors in every season he played. At the time of his retirement, Sanders held virtually every Lions rushing record. He currently sits in fourth place on the NFL’s all-time rushing list.

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