Famous Migrainers: Kris Letang

Patient Expert

Kris Letang, defenseman for the Pittsburgh Penguins and Stanley Cup winner, also has Migraines. Born in Montreal, Quebec on April 24, 1987, Letang is thought to be by some, one of the NHL's most improved players this year. "Tanger" (his nickname) spends long hours practicing on the ice and works hard. According to assistant coach Todd Reidren, "Kris never stops working or learning."

Letang's Migraines started when he was about 12-years-old, during the time he played youth hockey. Migraine is a genetic neurological disease thought to be caused by overactive neurons in our brains and genetics, and Kris's mom has Migraines. Some of his Migraine symptoms include vision loss in his left eye, intense nausea, throbbing head pain and vomiting. He knows when he is getting a Migraine attack due to certain visual symptoms, and he can use these as a "warning light" to take his medication to abort the Migrainous process. Some abortive medications include, Imitrex, Axert and Maxalt. To read more about the various abortive, preventive and rescue medications for Migraine, take a look at Preventive, Abortive, and Rescue Medications - What's the Difference?

While he often prefers to "sleep off" a Migraine in a dark room, this isn't always possible. Sleep, for some, can be a natural abortive.

LeTang's Migraines can be triggered by bright lights in a hockey arena and dehydration. Because Kris works so hard at hockey and always wants to play, he hasn't missed a professional hockey game and rarely complains about his Migraines. He has new medication that is helping and tries to stay well hydrated. He really doesn't want Migraine disease to interfere with his life, but is smart about managing them too. During one attack he realized he didn't have any medication, and he didn't feel safe driving home, so he slept at the arena.

Kris Letang seems to have a great hockey career ahead of him. Keeping his Migraines under control will be imperative. Although sports and exercise can trigger a Migraine, hopefully with a good Migraine specialist and Migraine management plan, he can do just that. _Migraines and Headaches Related to Sports_has some very interesting information at the various types of Migraines and headaches even fit athletes can suffer from.


Anderson, Shelly. "Letang's migraines one big headache ." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.Com. Sports. November 28, 2007.

Cazeneuve, Brian. "The most improved player in the league is Kris Letang, who has filled two big voids for the Penguins." SI Vault_._ January 24, 2011.


© The HealthCentral Network, 2011 Last updated February 24, 2011