Earlier this month we spotlighted the story of Baylor's Isaiah Austin, who had overcome blindness in his right eye to make it to the cusp of the NBA. Just days before the draft, he was delivered heartbreaking news that genetic testing returned positive for Marfan Syndrome, ending his basketball career.
"They said I wouldn't be able to play basketball anymore at a competitive level," said Austin. "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."
Austin's mother, Lisa Green, drove throughout the night Friday from Kansas to Dallas to deliver the career-ending diagnosis in person. Friends and family, including Baylor coach Scott Drew and Austin's high school coaches, gathered to tell him the news.
According to the Marfan Foundation, it is a genetic disorder that affects the connective tissue that holds all the body's cells, organs and tissue together. It also plays an important role in helping the body grow and develop properly. Because connective tissue is found throughout the body, Marfan syndrome can affect many different parts of the body.
"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," Drew said in a press release from the school. "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."
Man that's heart breaking. Been knowing Isaiah for years...... Praying for him man. But he always finds a way.
— Jared Sullinger (@Jared_Sully0) June 22, 2014