Isaiah Austin Loses Basketball Career To Marfan Syndrome
Isaiah Austin has been training nearly his entire life, conditioning his body for the purpose of only one thing in mind — playing in the NBA. After months of featured workouts for pro teams, not to mention the Combine — Austin was given the worst news imaginable just days before the 2014 NBA Draft; his playing days are over.
Austin has been diagnosed with Marfan syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that effects connective tissue and could basically cause his heart to rupture if he pushes himself too hard on the court. The disease effects only one in 5,000 people.
Austin told ESPN:
"They said I wouldn't be able to play basketball anymore at a competitive level," Austin told ESPN's Holly Rowe. "They found the gene in my blood sample. They told me that my arteries in my heart are enlarged and that if I overwork myself and push too hard that my heart could rupture. The draft is four days away, and I had a dream that my name was going to be called."
Of what he's learned from this process, Austin told Rowe: "For all of my supporters, I just want to tell them sorry. I'm sorry they couldn't see me play in the NBA. But it's not the end; it's only the beginning."
Baylor's official statement read:
Former Baylor center Isaiah Austin has been diagnosed with a career-ending medical condition. Genetic testing as part of preparation for the 2014 NBA Draft revealed that Austin suffers from Marfan syndrome.
"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," head coach Scott Drew said. "His health is the most important thing, and while it's extremely sad that he won't be able to play in the NBA, our hope is that he'll return to Baylor to complete his degree and serve as a coach in our program."
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. For more information, visit www.marfan.org.
A 7-foot-1 center from Arlington, Texas, Austin revealed during his sophomore season that he is blind in his right eye as a result of a detached retina suffered as a teenager. He was expected to be the first to ever play in the NBA while partially blind.
Here he is giving the heartbreaking interview with ESPN's Holly Rowe:
Already having defeated many odds, Austin has been blind his right eye since the age of 16 and was about to become the first NBA player with partial blindness. Through it all, it appears the seven-footer is keeping his head up.
Words can't explain how thankful I am for the time I had to play this wonderful sport. It changed my life forever. #NewBeginnings
— God's Child (@IsaiahAustin) June 22, 2014
I would love to thank EVERYONE who has reached out to me. Toughest days of my life. But not the last! Life goes on. GOD IS STILL GREAT!
The seven-footer declared for the NBA Draft this spring following his sophomore season in which he averaged 11.2 points and 5.5 rebounds en route to a Sweet 16 appearance with Baylor.
Photo Credit: Getty