Stunning health revelation ends Baylor center Isaiah Austin’s dream

By Jeff Caplan, NBA.com


VIDEO: A profile of prospect Isaiah Austin

HANG TIME SOUTHWEST – Seven-foot-1 Baylor center Isaiah Austin was on the cusp of an NBA career and becoming an inspiration to millions of people as the first to play in the league while partially blind.

Now Austin could potentially be battling for his life. Genetic testing as part of the 2014 NBA Draft revealed that Austin suffers from a career-ending condition called Marfan syndrome, Baylor announced Sunday morning. Marfan syndrome is caused by a genetic mutation that leads to problems in connective tissues throughout the body. According to The Marfan Foundation, about one in 5,000 people have Marfan syndrome. It can cause aortic enlargement, which can be life-threatening.

NBA.com’s draft guru Scott Howard-Cooper had Austin being selected 52nd overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in his latest mock draft.

“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,” Baylor 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.”

Austin addressed his situation on Twitter as did Baylor:

Austin, from Arlington, Texas, located between Dallas and Fort Worth, revealed during his sophomore season that he is blind in his right eye as a result of a detached retina suffered as a teenager.

Austin played two seasons at Baylor before declaring for the 2014 NBA Draft. He played in 73 games (72 starts) and averaged 12.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 28.9 minutes per game.

He finished his Baylor career tied for second on the school’s all-time blocked shots list with 177, and his 119 blocks as a sophomore led the Big 12 Conference. Baylor went a combined 49-26 during his two-year career, winning the 2013 NIT Championship and advancing to the 2014 NCAA Sweet 16.

35 Comments

  1. Júlio says:

    Dont know if my comment was even read or if these ones here were taken on accountance, but thank you NBA guys for making it true. That was amazing

  2. Georges says:

    Truly devastating news. I think he should be signed to a one game contract with an NBA team just so he can say : ” i achieved my dream, i can now be in peace”.

  3. Joe says:

    NBA, find out who his favorite team is and give them a special end of draft pick so them can draft him and let him enjoy the moment.

  4. FadeAwayDance24 says:

    It doesnt mean over and out. You might be physically unable to play but still you can share those skills to others

  5. Big Al says:

    It is really unfortunate to have such a disease, but still better than getting killed on court and breaking the hearts of many. There is life outside basketball, and I do hope he finds glory in a different field.

  6. Bob says:

    Same situation happened to me minus the NBA draft. I can totally relate. I had three heart surgeries and Im only 28yrs old and 7ft tall. Basketball was everything to me but it just stopped after the doctors saying no. I wish i can tell you more about this. Austin keep your head up, God have a plan for you. Be strong and stay focus.

  7. TayCloudz says:

    God bless him…life goes on…finish school at baylor and get that degree..there is still a bright future

  8. jfack says:

    i wish they would give better info on the marfan syndrome.. guess i can just google !

  9. kek says:

    This is unfortunate, hate to see stuff like this happen to young kids who has the love for the game. This is a guy who has faced adversity before, with his eye injury and all, I think he will be alright.

    best of luck in the future Austin.

  10. Def con foe says:

    This iscrazy I saw iton sports center n read the bottom im so sad I really enjoyed the piece he did I was looking forward to seeing him in a 76er jersey mcw throwing lobs to him seeing his highlights on YouTube I said he was going to be a steel in the 2nd round much lovre and respect go out to him and his family

  11. Dutella says:

    All said and done, it is just a game of basketball. Take this setback and use it to spur you to greater heights beyond basketball. Stay strong.

  12. epm says:

    stay strong mate, chin up.
    we all got your back

  13. George Williams says:

    They should give him a chance anyway I think he deserve a chance have players use drugs and they play god will have the last answer on this matter.

  14. Kobe-James-Melo-Love-Nash says:

    Melo is destined to be aLaker..

  15. Catherine Blancada says:

    I feel so sad learning about this… I just became his fan Yesterday when i read his story on bleachers.com But i kNow his faith is just being test… I know something bigger awaits you.. I AM STILL AND FOREVER BE YOUR FAN FROM PHILIPPINES :)

    -CATHY

  16. lbj says:

    marfon syndrome wont get you a ring, playing with our king LEBRON will

    • sam30 says:

      Hey mods, can you please ban this guy?
      I find it incredibly insensitive and in bad taste to make fun of someone’s medical condition. This guy is only here to cause trouble, and his contributions to the comment section won’t be missed.

  17. Baller says:

    this is heartbreaking, but props to the dude for staying positive

  18. James says:

    Such sad news. As tough as it is, he will have many opportunities to be an encouragement and inspiration to many others. His career may be over, but his impact on people is just beginning.

  19. lbattle7915 says:

    This is truly sad but the young man is impressive.

    Date: Sun, 22 Jun 2014 17:52:24 +0000
    To: lbattle7915@hotmail.com

  20. RJ says:

    Someone should sign him to the minimum for a year anyway, and see how he does. A year at a time, at the minimum. He’s already playing the way he’s playing partially blind?! I mean, come on now. 10 day contracts at least. I’d be happy to play for the minimum every year. I’m sure he understands that no one can commit to him long term now.

  21. Trent says:

    Just read an article on this guy like 3 days ago about his journey and how powered through adversity. All about how his eye got injured and that. Was happy to hear that he was still in the draft and had talent. So ratchet to hear this about him now, but he seems real positive so I should be aswell. Good luck for wherever life takes you bro! Hope you keep involved in basketball and keep inspiring others!!!

  22. bo says:

    Terrible piece of news. Wish all the best to you Isaiah, you will prevail

  23. Ryan says:

    poor kid

  24. jake says:

    @jty7271 it’s a precautionary thing. Marfan syndrome causes enlargement of the arteries, so if his heart is overworked, it can cause them to rupture. he was lucky that they caught the condition before he got into the heavy grind of a NBA life. It is unfortunate that a small genetic problem can takeaway his dreams but he seems like a strong kid, I wish him the best in his life.

  25. random dude says:

    ikr

  26. JJ says:

    My prayers and support goes to him….GOD has a different plan wuth you and its somezhing big for sure

  27. Grace says:

    Isaiah Austin: They should invite him to the draft anyway and have him introduce someone so he can have his name called….

  28. Niclasl says:

    this is so sad… to hear him be so motivated.. to hear the love he has for the game… I hope you’ll be okay and wish you a lifetime of happiness!

  29. Dyce says:

    Damn this is some horrible news.

  30. Kimmy says:

    That is devastating. But good for him to be aware of what he has. He should finish school, and can always be connected to the NBA is some other instrumental capacity. I know it’s easy for me to say. I gave the same advice to my son. Best wishes to this young snd very talented guy.

  31. jty7271 says:

    I’m still a little confused as to why he can’t play anymore because of this condition. It hasn’t really affected his play so far, has it?

  32. john says:

    Man, that’s just sad…