TORONTO – Drew Moor’s heart is in the right place – figuratively and literally.
Six months after it was discovered that he had an irregular heartbeat, Moor, a player known for his kindness and generosity of spirit off the field, has bounced back and is his old self again, and the Toronto FC defender is raring to go for the playoffs.
Moor, a 33-year-old native of Dallas, was told by TFC’s staff that he had an issue with his heart that he needed to have checked out. Moor ended up travelling to Boston where he underwent a 3 1/2-hour medical procedure, known as an ablation, in order to restore his normal heart rhythm.
The veteran defender ended up missing seven consecutive games from April 15 to May 13 after he recuperated from the procedure to correct the minor heart defect. Eventually, Moor was cleared to play and he’s been one of the constants in coach Greg Vanney’s team sheet ever since, starting in 17 of the Reds’ last 20 matches.
Moor was never in mortal danger, so it wasn’t exactly a life-changing experience. But he did learn one thing about himself during his extended tenure spent on the sidelines.
“I learned that I want to play until my legs fall off. When you’re away from the game, I mean, you’re still with the team and you’re in the locker room, but you feel so removed, so detached from it all, so out of the loop,” Moor told Sportsnet.
“You miss it so much. I missed battling and competing. That’s what I feel like I’m on this Earth do to right now. That’s what I want to do as long as I possibly can.”
The heart scare also put things into perspective for Moor, who has a greater appreciation of things that he previously took for granted.
“Anytime you start to talk about the heart, it’s scary. You start thinking about the worst-case scenario. For a while there it was like, ‘Will I ever play again, or is this life threatening?’ It never really was, but it was scary, and it makes you re-evaluate things,” Moor said.
“Now, I enjoy all the little moments. I enjoy the national anthem a little bit more, I enjoy training more. I enjoy in the locker-room banter more, I enjoy being on airplanes and the team bus. So, this entire thing was a small reminder that we’re not invincible, and that there is a time clock on our playing careers.”
Moor’s heart rate is still monitored by the team’s medical staff like every TFC player. The doctors from Boston send him text messages to see how he’s doing and they are kept in the loop about his condition. If he needs to have surgery again, they are ready to do it.
But all indications are that the worst is behind him.
“In every training session, we have the heart rate monitor that we all wear. The training staff has been keeping a close eye on mine, but there’s been no ill effects since I had the procedure. The doctors have reached out to me just about every month to check on things. It’s a thing of the past,” Moor explained.
That’s a good thing for TFC, because they need the services of their defensive quarterback now more than ever.
The Reds have two final regular season games, and then they’ll enter the playoffs as the favourite to win MLS Cup as the Supporters’ Shield winners, the award that goes to the team that finishes the regular season in first place.
Toronto will need all hands on deck, and Moor will be vital to the Reds’ playoff push. He’s played a lot this season and, at 33, he’s not exactly a youngster.
But whatever fatigue he’s feeling from a long, gruelling regular season has to be put aside and overcome.
“This is the time of the year where you don’t think about being fatigued. I probably am. I feel a little more heavy-legged now that I did in April or May, but fatigue can’t be an issue. And if it is, then you need to have a seat,” Moor said.
As for Moor’s long-term future, it looks as though he will be staying in Toronto.
His current contract with the Reds expires at the end of this year. Moor’s representatives have been in negotiation talks with club management throughout the current MLS season. If Moor doesn’t re-sign with Toronto, he would become a free agent at the end of the year and be free to negotiate with any MLS club ahead of the 2018 regular season.
But Moor admitted “there’s a very good chance I’ll be [in Toronto] next year.”
“I have not put pen to payer yet, but essentially we have a deal in place. And I’ll leave it at that,” Moor said while offering a coy smile.