Baylor Basketball Star Center Diagnosed with Career-Ending Medic - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Baylor Basketball Star Center Diagnosed with Career-Ending Medical Condition

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Isaiah Austin. Photo courtesy Baylor Athletics Isaiah Austin. Photo courtesy Baylor Athletics
(KCEN) -- Former Baylor basketball star center Isaiah Austin has been diagnosed with Marfan syndrome, a career-ending medical condition, just four days before the NBA draft.

Austin, an Arlington native, played two seasons with the Bears before declaring early for the draft this year.


Doctors drew blood for genetic testing, and got the results back on Friday, said Baylor Men’s Basketball sports information director David Kaye. Austin was told Saturday he had the life-threatening genetic disorder.


Marfan syndrome affects the connective tissues that help hold together the body’s cells, organs and tissues, according to the Marfan Foundation’s website.


One symptom Austin has is an enlarged aorta, Kaye said. On the court, he runs the risk of rupturing his aorta and potentially dying.


Kaye called the diagnosis “unquestionably” career-ending, and said Austin was “devastated” by the news.


The 7-foot-1 center was just “four days away from achieving his dream,” said Kaye, and had a “bright future in basketball.”


Austin was expected to be picked up in the second round of Thursday’s NBA draft. Kaye said he likely could have gone pro after his freshman year, but shoulder surgery prevented it.


In an emotional interview with ESPN Sunday morning, Austin told Holly Rowe, “I had a dream that my name was going to be called.”


“For all my supporters, I just want to tell them sorry,” he said. “I’m sorry they couldn’t see me play in the NBA.”


Austin ended the interview on a positive note. “It’s not the end, you know,” he said. “It’s only a beginning.”


After the interview aired, Austin tweeted “Words can't explain how thankful I am for the time I had to play this wonderful sport. It changed my life forever. #NewBeginnings.”

Baylor basketball head coach Scott Drew also expressed his optimism for Austin’s future in the news release from BU.


“His health is the most important thing,” Drew said, “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."


Austin has already overcome a lot, revealing last season he is blind in his right eye. He was expected to be the first-ever partially blind pro basketball player.


According to a news release from the university, Austin played in 73 games in his time at Baylor, 72 of which he started. He averaged 12.1 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game, in 28.9 minutes per game on average.


Austin is tied for second on Baylor’s all-time blocked shots list, with 177. In his sophomore year last season he led the Big 12 Conference with 119 blocks. He was also part of the 2013 NIT Championship team, and helped Baylor advance to the Sweet 16 in this year’s NCAA Championship.


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