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NBA prospect Isaiah Austin announces retirement

Isaiah Austin's Playing Career Over

By Dan Mennella

WACO, Texas (AP) - Isaiah Austin's attempt to play in the NBA despite his partial blindness has ended because of a rare genetic disorder that affects his heart.

The former Baylor center, who left school early to enter this week's NBA draft, has been diagnosed with Marfan syndrome, which affects the body's connective tissue.

Baylor made the announcement Sunday. The condition was discovered during a physical for the draft, which is Thursday.

According to the Mayo Clinic, complications from Marfan syndrome can weaken the aorta, the artery that supplies blood from the heart to the rest of the body.

"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 a brief interview with ESPN, his voice halting as he fought back tears. "The draft is four days away and I had a dream that my name was going to be called."

The 7-foot-1 center declared for the draft after his sophomore season, in which he averaged 11.2 points and 5.5 rebounds on a Baylor team that reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament before losing to Wisconsin, a Final Four qualifier.

During his final season with the Bears, Austin revealed that he had a prosthetic right eye after multiple operations couldn't repair a detached retina. The eye was damaged when a previous injury was aggravated doing a routine dunk before a middle school game.

"For all my supporters, I just want to tell them I'm sorry," Austin told ESPN, which broke the story of his partial blindness in January. "I'm sorry they couldn't see me play in the NBA. To my fans, it's not the end. It's only the beginning."

The Dallas-area player was never dominant in two college seasons, but his shooting ability at his size made him an intriguing draft option. His scoring and rebounding averages dropped in his final season, though he started 72 of 73 games for the Bears.

Baylor coach Scott Drew said he hopes Austin will return to Baylor to get his degree and eventually join the coaching staff.

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

Join the discussion

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kpamesa June 22 2014 at 6:13 PM

Isaiah - PLEASE return to Baylor, get your degree, ENJOY getting your EDUCATION....you have the entire WORLD open to you if you do. Use your god-given talents to MAKE A REAL DIFFERENCE in the lives of young people - YOU can PROVE that you don't need to play "professional" sport to come out on top and be a winner.

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5 replies
stoddots June 22 2014 at 5:48 PM

Isaiah - There's a reason you have this name. You will be a strong witness about God's grace. You truly are God's child, and my prayers are with you. A praying friend.

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2 replies
Lew Tripp stoddots June 22 2014 at 6:37 PM

For sure.

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ElectricXebra5 stoddots June 22 2014 at 7:53 PM

So an "All Knowing God" created an angel that he knew would turn against him and take 1/3 of his angels with him to earth?

This "All Knowing God" who places a "Tree of Knowledge" in the garden Knowing that Eve would eat of the fruit and sin!?

This "All Knowing God" who created humans who he knew would sin but then blames us for "Sinning"!?

This "All Powerful God" who was not powerful enough to stop Satan from taking the 1/3 of his angels from heaven!?

An "All Powerful God" who "Believers" claim can heal the sick and raise the dead, But I guess not powerful enough to have one person grow a arm or leg back!

Really people, You still believe in this Fairy Tale?

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49 replies
klijne June 22 2014 at 6:33 PM

When God closes one door he will open another. May God bless you.

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4 replies
gilbert2leonard June 22 2014 at 6:09 PM

We should pray that God will continue to display his grace as you move forward. It was the Providence of God that this was caught early enough in the process. Keep moving forward and rest assured that God will be glorified in the end.

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5 replies
james levin June 22 2014 at 6:31 PM

Dude, You are young. You are able, and Marfans still leaves you plenty of options. It seems devastating right now but DON'T GIVE IN!!!! Anyone who played basketball at your level can certainly achieve at lots of other careers. Obviously you are already qualfied to be a highschool coach, but maybe you have other interests too. Yake a few weeks to digest the news and then go get 'em !!!!

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1 reply
roseyoungstewart james levin June 23 2014 at 12:56 PM

Marfans syndrome is when the long bones continue to grow and never stop growing this creates a heavy burden onnthe aorta the main artery that carried blood to the heart and way from the y heart. While the bones continue growing it is very painful for the patient and he or she need to rest as much a spossible Coaching anything is definitely out of the mans life. Some famous people who had and died of marfans syndrome Robert Wadlow, tallest man on earth, Andre the Giant famous wrestling star, Abraham Lincoln, Late movie star Vincent Schiavelli who played the insane ghost on the subway in the movie Ghost with Patrick Swayze. The end result is when the aorta bursts from overwork and the patient bleeds to death. Some people have tried artificial aortas but never worked out well.The long bones just keep on growing fingers, arms legs they get huge flat feet and cannot walk properly. Marfans isn't something you can live with.

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1 reply
VA_Driver roseyoungstewart June 23 2014 at 3:06 PM

Umm, Abraham Lincoln died of Marfans? Seriously, dude, stfu.

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bearskyt June 22 2014 at 5:45 PM

Some people are meant to do greater things in life...you're obviously one of them!

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1 reply
Don Murphy bearskyt June 23 2014 at 12:58 AM

Hmm, and you've come to this conclusion based on what exactly? To each his own I suppose, but you might want to give some thought to keeping such hollow and mindless platitudes to yourself in future given that, you know, they're virtually meaningless when it comes to dealing with reality.

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2 replies
tstillkickin Don Murphy June 23 2014 at 9:20 AM

That's right Don.............take YOUR OWN advice............to each his own.........

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Don Murphy Don Murphy June 24 2014 at 12:20 PM

Here some advice for you tstillsuckin: take a flying leap and then get lost! What I said was perfectly true, matters not in the least that you and a few of your equally mindless cronies didn't like it.

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moooooooooochelle June 22 2014 at 6:08 PM


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16 replies
james June 22 2014 at 5:18 PM

would be nice if the writer explained what Marfan syndrome is for all us lay people

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28 replies
bmitche June 22 2014 at 5:46 PM

So sorry to hear of your ailment. I wish the best for you.

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brainslug June 22 2014 at 5:52 PM

Seems likely that some team is going to pick him up at the end of the draft anyway . . . even though they know he'll never play, I know that some team will step up and at least this kid will get to say his name was called, and he was in the NBA if only briefly. Maybe Donald Sterling should step up and do this kid a favor, he could mend a lot of fences by doing so; not that he is a GM anyway, just sayin that maybe he should quit with the weird rants against the league that took him in 40 years ago, and maybe he should step up and do this kid a favor. Karma has a way of paying you back for such gestures.

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5 replies
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