Basketball / Sports

Draft prospect Isaiah Austin is diagnosed with career-ending medical condition

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Isaiah Austin's dream of playing in the NBA has ended before it got started.

The former Baylor standout has been diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome, a career-ending medical condition, the school announced Sunday morning. Austin found out about the condition through genetic testing that is part of preparation for the 2014 NBA Draft, which begins Thursday.

"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," Bears head 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."

Marfan syndrome is caused by a genetic mutation that leads to problems in connective tissues throughout the body. One feature of Marfan syndrome is aortic enlargement, which can be life-threatening.

The 7-foot-1 Austin, who attended Grace Prep Academy in Arlington, Texas, revealed in January that he was blind in his right eye as a result of a detached retina suffered when he was hit in the eye while playing baseball at age 12. However, that injury had not stopped him from becoming one of the top players in the nation in high school and having an outstanding two-year career with the Bears.

At Baylor, Austin averaged 12.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks. His 177 blocks during his career are tied for second in school history. His 119 blocks as a sophomore led the Big 12 Conference.

He declared for the draft after his sophomore year.

Austin worked out for several teams in recent weeks, including the Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers, Boston Celtics, Phoenix Suns and Detroit Pistons.

According to The Marfan Foundation, about one in 5,000 people have Marfan syndrome.

(c)2014 Fort Worth Star-Telegram

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Distributed by MCT Information Services

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