Ott DeFoe announced Friday that he will not compete at the Lake Winnebago Bass Pro Tour next week due to a heart ailment that will require surgery.
DeFoe revealed during a Facebook Live broadcast that he’s been diagnosed with a torn mitral valve and will undergo surgery in Tennessee in the coming days. He’s scheduled to have an exploratory procedure done Monday and will consult with doctors on Tuesday to determine the next step.
DeFoe's doctors told him the surgical procedure to repair the mitral valve should be non-invasive and the anticipated recovery period is 7 to 10 days. If all goes as planned, DeFoe should be cleared to return to competition for the Bass Pro Tour RedCrest, which is Aug. 21-25 at La Crosse, Wis. DeFoe is currently seventh in Bass Pro Tour points and will remain inside the top 30 in points, the cutoff for RedCrest qualification, despite missing next week's event.
DeFoe said he’s experienced shortness of breath and hasn’t been sleeping well since March, right around the time he won the Bassmaster Classic at the Tennessee River. Doctors initially diagnosed him with bronchitis, but his symptoms persisted.
Earlier this week, DeFoe met with doctors again and an x-ray showed an inflamed area around his heart. A follow-up echocardiogram was done and the tear in the mitral valve was revealed.
Below is the full video of DeFoe’s announcement: