Lions legend Barry Sanders reveals 'health scare' with heart over Father's Day weekend

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - JANUARY 14: Former NFL player Barry Sanders of the Detroit Lions reacts during the first half between the Los Angeles Rams and Detroit Lions in the NFC Wild Card Playoffs at Ford Field on January 14, 2024 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Barry Sanders apparently had a frightening Father's Day weekend. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Barry Sanders suffered a "health scare" related to his heart over Father's Day weekend, the Detroit Lions legend revealed Friday.

The 55-year-old Sanders didn't divulge what exact issue he had, but he said it was unexpected and a reminder to be vigilant about one's health "even when we are feeling fine." Sanders thanked the healthcare professionals who provided him care and his fans for their support.

His doctors reportedly recommended he prioritize his health and well-being. His full statement:

To all of my supporters,

Over Father's Day weekend, I experienced a health scare related to my heart. It was unexpected and served as a reminder of the importance of staying vigilant about our physical well-being, even when we are feeling fine.

I am grateful for the amazing doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals for providing me with needed care.

My family and I are thankful for your prayers and support during this time.

Per my doctors' recommendation, I am taking this opportunity to prioritize my health and well-being. I appreciate your understanding and continued support.

The Lions responded with an online "Get well soon" card for Sanders.

Sanders appeared in public as recently as April, when he was part of the festivities at the 2024 NFL Draft in Detroit.

Even though he is now more than 25 years removed from his playing career, Sanders remains an NFL icon and one of the greatest running backs of all time, with 15,269 rushing yards and 99 rushing touchdowns to his name. He was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004 and College Football Hall of Fame in 2003.

After his famously abrupt retirement, Sanders spent years estranged from the Lions over bonus money he was forced to return, but the two sides have since patched things up. Sanders currently works as a paid ambassador for the team.