In 2014, fresh off of averaging 11.2 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game as a sophomore at Baylor, 7-foot-1 Isaiah Austin was set to forgo the rest of his college eligibility and enter the NBA Draft. Then, during a routine physical exam at the NBA Pre-Draft Combine, an abnormality was discovered in his heart. After more tests, Austin was diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects the body’s connective tissue, and it forced him to give up playing basketball because of the danger it posed to his health. At the time, it was thought that Austin’s diagnosis was career-ending.
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Two years later, Austin has been miraculously cleared to begin playing basketball again. Via a video produced by Thru The Lens, Austin announced that he had been advised by his doctor that he could begin working out again and resume basketball activities.
“Ever since the draft, I’ve been getting checked by my doctors. And through those check-ups, we’ve been monitoring my heart, making sure nothing has changed,” Austin said. “He said that I’m stable. I am cleared. I am about to be out here pursuing my dream.”
Austin, who is also blind in his right eye, has been back in the gym putting in work as he tries to lure an NBA team to give him a chance at a roster spot. Despite standing over 7 feet tall, Austin has the ability to step out and shoot the 3, and he can also put the ball on the floor with the type of handles usually reserved for smaller players.
Austin has spent the past two years away from basketball working with his Isaiah Austin Foundation, which promotes awareness of Marfan Syndrome and raises money to help find a cure.