Isaiah Austin, once considered a top second-round prospect in this year's NBA draft, is being forced to shelve those dreams after an unexpected diagnosis of Marfan syndrome.
The 20-year-old Baylor University basketball star learned he had the genetic disorder
, which affects the body's connective tissue, after undergoing a routine blood test during a pre-draft physical.
“They told me that my arteries in my heart are enlarged and that if I overwork myself or push too hard that my heart could rupture,” Austin said in an emotional interview with ESPN
. “The draft is four days away and I had a dream that my name was going to be called.”
Marfan syndrome is a rare condition that affects roughly 1 in 5,000 people, impacting the heart, eyes, blood vessels and skeleton. If not treated, the condition can get worse over time and is complicated by physical stresses on the body. Luckily for Austin, his diagnosis was caught early and he will begin treatment immediately.
Posting on Instagram, Austin wrote:
"This game. It is a platform for anyone and everyone who comes in contact with it. I was blessed enough to play it on one of the highest levels despite the odds that were stacked against me. Blessed is all I can say. Thankful is all I can be. The love from you all is greatly appreciated! I know God has a plan! If I can say one to to anyone, it would be please, please do not take the privilege of playing sports or anything for granted."
In a moving show of support, NBA commissioner Adam Silver has invited Austin to attend the draft as his personal guest.
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