Off ice, Red Wings defenceman Fischer says life better since heart attack

Fischer had a seizure during the first period of the Nov. 21 game against the Nashville Predators. He collapsed on the bench, and team doctors needed a defibrillator to revive him.

“It was so confusing after it happened last fall that I didn’t know what to do,” he said Tuesday at Joe Louis Arena. “There were so many emotions and so many thoughts: What am I going to do? Is my career over? Can I ever enjoy something as much as I did enjoy playing? But then as time went by, I discovered that it’s really not everything.

“It was a hard way to learn that, but on the other hand, thanks to my cardiac arrest last year, I was introduced to a whole different way of thinking of how to live my life. It’s totally changed my life to the better. I’m a lot happier than I was before.”

Fischer frequently comes to Joe Louis to exercise and mingle with his Red Wings teammates.

Fischer was diagnosed with an enlarged heart during routine physicals at training camp in 2002. He had two instances of arrhythmia soon after the Nov. 21 incident but said there haven’t been any recurrences since then.

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In recent months, he said he has increasingly focused on his health and fitness.

“I never ate junk food, I never smoked, and I never drank alcohol at all, but that doesn’t mean my diet was fine and optimal,” Fischer said. “In order for me to do absolutely anything in life, I have to get healthy and I have to get comfortable with my health. It’s going to take time, but that’s fine.”

For safety reasons, Fischer said he hasn’t skated in the past year, but that could change soon.

“It’s getting more tempting because I’m feeling better and better,” he said.

Fischer said his chances of playing hockey again are slim but said that he hasn’t given up, The Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press reported.

“I’m 26, and even if it takes longer than I would like it to, it’s something that keeps me motivated and something that I love,” he said. “I just don’t really see a reason saying right now, ‘Hey, my time is done.’ Absolutely not.”