Negedu won't play after surgery

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee forward Emmanuel Negedu will not play or practice during the 2009-10 season but will remain on scholarship after suffering sudden cardiac arrest last week.

The 20-year-old sophomore from Kaduna, Nigeria, underwent surgery Tuesday to have a cardiac defibrillator implanted in his chest to monitor his heart's rhythm and delivery energy when an irregularity occurs.

"I just want to say thanks to all those people that care about me and show me they care," Negedu said in a statement. "God is going to see me through this. With God, all things are possible. God is always in control."

Negedu had just completed a team weightlifting session and had been racing a teammate on the Vols' indoor football field when he collapsed on Sept. 28. He lost consciousness and had no pulse.

Tennessee athletic trainer Chad Newman and director of sports medicine Jason McVeigh used an automatic external defibrillator and performed CPR to revive Negedu.

He underwent a battery of tests at the University of Tennessee Medical Center and Cleveland Clinic in the week before his surgery. He's also spent time with his U.S. guardians, Frank and Alison Quirk, who were his host family while he attended Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, N.H.

"Emmanuel is such a special young man," coach Bruce Pearl said in a statement. "You don't come across many like him. He's faced a tremendously frightening obstacle with unbelievable courage. He is going to be an inspiration to many, and we all feel truly blessed that he's still here with us."

After enrolling at Tennessee in the summer of 2008, Negedu underwent an echocardiogram and an electrocardiogram as part of the routine physical examinations for incoming Vols athletes. No issues were detected on those tests, the team said.

As a freshman, Negedu averaged 7.2 minutes, 1.9 rebounds and 1.7 points in 33 games. His biggest game came Jan. 28 against LSU, when he scored 11 points, grabbed two rebounds and had one assist and one block in 15 minutes of action.