Skip to comments.Isaiah Austin’s basketball career ends because of genetic condition
Posted on 06/22/2014 1:42:22 PM PDT by nickcarraway
Former Baylor standout center Isaiah Austins basketball career is over several days before the NBA Draft when doctors have diagnosed he suffers from Marfan syndrome.
Marfan syndrome is caused by a genetic mutation that leads to problems in connective tissues throughout the body. One feature of Marfan syndrome is aortic enlargement, which can be life-threatening. According to The Marfan Foundation, about one in 5,000 people have Marfan syndrome.
Some athletes have died on the court as a result of Marfan syndrome and associated aortic problems, among them noted Olympic volleyball standout Flo Hyman.
Austin underwent a standard physical at the NBA combine where his EKG test revealed an abnormality. After subsequent genetic tests, his results came back positive for Marfan syndrome with the recommendation that Austin immediately end his basketball career.
Austin, a 7-foot-1 sophomore from Arlington, played two seasons for the Bears. He revealed during his sophomore season that he is blind in his right eye as a result of a detached retina suffered as a teenager.
Despite that condition, he was projected as a potential late first-round draft pick in Thursdays NBA Draft. He has been invited to the draft as a special guest by NBA commissioner Adam Silver.
This is devastating news, but Isaiah has the best support system anyone could ask for, and he knows that all of Baylor Nation is behind him, Baylor coach Scott Drew said. His health is the most important thing, and while its extremely sad that he wont be able to play in the NBA, our hope is that hell return to Baylor to complete his degree and serve as a coach in our program.
During his Baylor career, he played in 73 games, averaging 12.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocked shots. He finished his Baylor career tied for second on the schools career blocked shots list.
He led the Big 12 with 119 blocks in his sophomore season and averaged 13 points and 8.3 rebounds per game, helping lead the 26-12 Bears to a trip to the Sweet 16 before losing to Wisconsin in the West Region semifinals.
Austin averaged 11.2 points and 5.5 rebounds per game as a freshman as a key performer on Baylors 2013 NIT championship squad.
Isaiah graduated from the Christian high school where I teach.
He is a great kid and a role model.
I know Baylor will come through for him and he will overcome this and do great things for the Lord’s kingdom.
Pistol Pete Maravich also had Marfans. This should be a routine test on basketball players. It’s a health thing.
Very sad that this should happen to such a fine young Christian after he has overcome blindness in one eye to play ball. The Lord is His strength as he faces this very serious test. We will be praying for him.
Maybe he should have focused on the education to begin with instead of relying on a stupid game for a career.
Read this just now on ESPN. A shame, but it is for his health.
Does he not want to play?
The teams probably don’t want the liability, now that everyone knows they know. He hid the fact of being blind in one eye for over three years. At least that’s what they say, maybe he played so well with one eye it didn’t matter. This young many may get involved in coaching or inspiring others. I don’t think the average Marfan patient typically lives past the age of 60 without becoming profoundly disabled.
Even as a healthy person, this must be a difficult world to live in for a man over seven feet tall. Clothes, Shoes, Doorways, planes seats, bus seats, roller coaster seats, all made for someone 6ft or under. Then there’s the rude staring to deal with, and the dumb questions from total strangers; “How;s the air up there? How does it feel to be so tall? Are you a basketball player or a model?” Why not?
I just hope Baylor gave him an education unlike North Carolina’s students.
Isn’t this what Abraham Lincoln was supposed to have had?
Points very well made. Thank you.
All black athletes should be tested for Sickle Trait. More have died from that than Marfans’s.