The news struck like a thunderbolt, calling into question the career, and health, of a promising young Flyer.
Friday afternoon, the Flyers announced that forward Oskar Lindblom has been diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of cancer that generally affects children and young adults.
In a statement to media outlets, Flyers president of hockey operations Chuck Fletcher revealed that the 23-year-old Swedish left wing is unlikely to play again in the 2019-20 season.
“Philadelphia Flyers forward Oskar Lindblom has been diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma by leading specialists at the University of Pennsylvania,’’ Fletcher’s statement read. “He will undergo further testing and evaluation next week and begin treatment immediately thereafter.
“He is not expected to return to play for the remainder of the season. The Flyers will do everything possible to support Oskar and assist him in securing the best care available.
“Out of respect for Oskar and his family, the team will have no further comment at this time and asks that Oskar be afforded a period of privacy so that he may focus his efforts on his treatment and a return to full health.”
According to several medical websites, Ewing’s sarcoma affects only about one out of one million people.
Lindblom had been enjoying a breakout season, having been tied with Travis Konecny (also sidelined indefinitely with a concussion) for the Flyers’ team scoring lead with 11 goals in 29 games with a plus-4.
The Flyers had scratched Lindblom for Wednesday night’s game at the Colorado Avalanche. At the time, he was listed as sidelined by an upper-body injury.
For that game, the Flyers called up forward David Kase from the Phantoms to take Lindblom’s lineup spot.
Lindblom was taken by the Flyers in the fifth round (138th overall) in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.
He made the Flyers’ roster for 23 games in the 2017-18 season but scored only two goals. The following season, Lindblom enjoyed a strong training camp, made the lineup and played in 81 games, finishing well to record 17 goals and a total of 33 points.
This season, he’s been at or near the top of the Flyers’ goal list, playing for the most part on a line with Sean Couturier.
According to the Mayo Clinic website, “Ewing’s sarcoma is a rare type of cancer that occurs in bones or in the soft tissue around the bones. This cancer most often begins in the long bones of the pelvis, legs or arms, but it can occur in any bone.
“Less often, Ewing’s sarcoma starts in the soft tissues of the arms, legs, abdomen or other locations.
“Major advancements in the treatment of Ewing’s sarcoma have significantly improved outcomes. After completion of treatment, people need lifelong monitoring for potential late effects of intense chemotherapy and radiation.’’
According to the American Cancer Society, “five-year survival for localized (Ewing’s sarcoma) disease is 70 percent to 80 percent when treated with chemotherapy.
“Prior to the use of multi-drug chemotherapy, long-term survival was less than 10 percent. The development of multi-disciplinary therapy with chemotherapy, irradiation, and surgery has increased current long-term survival rates in most clinical centers to greater than 50 percent.’’
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