Utah DT Star Lotulelei cleared for football 'without restriction'

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

Earlier on Tuesday, we noted that a University of Utah team doctor essentially cleared Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei for playing in the NFL despite the likely first-round pick displaying a heart abnormality while at the 2013 NFL Combine.

CBSSports.com has now obtained a copy of the letter sent to Lotulelei's agent, Bruce Tollner, from Dr. Joseph Stehlik of the University of Utah Health Sciences Cardiology Division that confirms those findings. According to Stehlik, shortly after the combine, Lotulelei's condition improved and he showed a "normal response" to exercise.

"Testing performed a week [after the combine] ... showed that, compared to the tests previously obtained, the heart muscle function appeared to have improved," Stehlik wrote. "A treadmill stress test showed normal response of the heart to exercise, and an ambulatory EKG monitor revealed normal findings. This evaluation suggested that the initial heart function abnormality was likely transient, possibly resulting from a viral infection.

"A follow-up heart imaging test obtained on March 27, 2013, showed complete normalization of the heart muscle function."

As a result of his evaluation, Stehlik wrote to Tollner that Lotulelei was cleared to "participate in professional athletics without restriction."

"The cardiac evaluation Star Lotulelei underwent was thorough and comprehensive," Stehlik wrote. "It is therefore concluded that it is safe for him to participate in professional athletics without restrictions."

The information in the letter was cleared for release by Lotulelei and, just like the previous release of info, it's great news for the defensive tackle.

He's pegged as a first-round pick in each of our six freshly-updated 2013 NFL Mock Drafts and it's unlikely that his stock will drop anytime between now and the end of April. If anything, we could see Star's stock soar in advance of the draft.

 
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