Jaguars' Tyler Shatley grateful after heart evaluation

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville Jaguars offensive lineman Tyler Shatley has had the fluttering feeling in his chest before, but this time he decided to get checked out.

It's a decision that could potentially save his life in the future.

Shatley was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation after Wednesday's practice. After learning about his condition, the 10th-year player admitted he's lucky that he never had any complications -- which include blood clots that can lead to stroke or heart attack.

"I just always ignored it for a couple years, honestly, when it happened," Shatley said after Sunday's practice. "And I think it's just the good Lord looking after me, man. Honestly, the other day I had a couple extra minutes [after practice and] I said, 'I might as well get this checked out.'"

Atrial fibrillation is an abnormal heartbeat caused by fast and irregular beats from the upper chambers of the heart, according to Johns Hopkins medicine's website. According to the American Heart Association, it is estimated that more than 12 million people in the United States are projected to have the condition in 2030. It can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related conditions.

According to the AHA, having atrial fibrillation doubles the risk of heart-related deaths, and people with the condition have a stroke risk five times higher than those who don't. The condition contributes to about 158,000 deaths annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Treatment includes medication to control heart rhythm and blood thinners to reduce the chance of blood clots. Shatley said he is taking blood thinners, which is why he has not yet been cleared to fully participate in practice.

Shatley is the longest-tenured Jaguars player and has played in 123 consecutive games, which is five shy of tying the franchise record of 128 held by long snapper Joe Zelenka.