Former CFL DE Connor McGough recovering from surgery after myocarditis, COVID complications force retirement

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/

Former CFL defensive end Connor McGough is recovering from surgery after myocarditis, complicated by a recent bout of COVID-19, forced him to retire from the CFL earlier this week.

The 26-year-old native of Medicine Hat, Alberta provided the following update to fans on Twitter, providing insight into the serious medical situation that prevented him from completing a comeback with the Calgary Stampeders.

“Hey everyone, I just wanted to update all of you on my current situation. In August of 2020, I began to treat my heart for myocarditis. Myocarditis is a heart disorder where the heart becomes inflamed due to a viral infection. I want to make it clear, this was NOT caused by the vaccine but from a viral infection. In my case, the antibodies from the viral infection attacked my heart. This became very concerning, especially as an athlete.

Unfortunately, this lasted a lot longer than anticipated and needed to miss the 2021 CFL season. It wasn’t until February of 2022 that I made a recovery. Sadly in April of this year, I got COVID and began to have some complications surrounding my heart. To ensure my safety, I underwent a procedure to help monitor my heart. Unfortunately, something came up and I had to get a surgery.

I had the surgery this morning. I am well and in very good spirits. I am very thankful to have the support of my family and friends throughout this process. As well I am extremely thankful for the support of the Calgary Stampeders and their willingness to help me. For the next while, I will be focusing on my recovery and spending time with family.

If anyone can do it, it’s me!!

McGough was selected fourth overall by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the 2017 CFL Draft and played 51 games for the Ticats over three seasons before joining the Stamps in 2020. McGough had 33 career special teams tackles, and 14 defensive stops including one tackle for loss, one sack, two forced fumbles, and one knockdown.

McGough had re-signed with the Stamps on Feb. 24, 2022, after spending last season on the retired list due to his myocarditis. The viral cause of the heart condition is not known.