Chargers’ Russell Okung happy to be back practicing after embolism

Russell Okung didn’t hold back in describing what the past four months have been like for him and his family.

“I definitely looked death right in the face and if it had not been for a family that cared for my well-being despite my own resistance, I might not be here right now,” Okung said.

The Los Angeles Chargers offensive tackle on Thursday took part in his first practice since June 1, when he suffered a pulmonary embolism during an offseason workout at the team facility.

He is being treated for blood clots and has been on the non-football injury list. Okung does not need to be added to the active roster for up to three weeks as he continues to work his way back.

The 6-foot-5, 310-pound Okung said his main priority during the past few months was making sure the blood clots were treatable and that he could live a healthy life. Once that was determined, he had conversations with his family about whether to return for a 10th NFL season and third with the Chargers.

“I’ve always been an optimist, but family is a priority,” he said. “This is a combination of hard conversations with my family, internally looking at myself and making the decision that it did make sense to keep playing. I don’t think anyone doubted that I could return, but I am grateful.”

Okung has said that he was initially hesitant to see a doctor but that shortness of breath that was affecting him in practice made him visit an urgent care facility, where tests revealed the embolism. Doctors told him the decision to get examined likely saved his life.

Okung is hoping his experiences will serve as a cautionary tale for other pro athletes.

“When you talk about athletes and our health, it’s very difficult to go to the doctor or even take care of ourselves. I was forced into that,” he said. “Deep vein thrombosis is an ailment that not a lot of players are paying attention to and it is becoming more prevalent. It is something that players should be checking themselves for.”

Briefly: All-Pro Cornerback Jalen Ramsey (back injury) hopes to makes his Rams debut Sunday against the Falcons after he was traded from the Jaguars. … Jets linebacker C.J. Mosley said he will play Monday against the Patriots. He has been out since he injured his groin in the season-opener. … The Lions acquired running back Tra Carson via waivers from the Packers and released running back Paul Perkins. Carson has six carries for 14 yards in his career.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Chargers-Russell-Okung-happy-to-be-back-14543436.php.

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