Isaiah Austin, the former Baylor basketball star who was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome during his 2014 NBA draft combine workout, has been cleared by doctors to return to playing basketball, he said.
"Ever since the draft, I've been getting checked by my doctor; and through those checkups, we've been monitoring my heart, making sure that nothing has changed, and he said that I am stable," Austin said in a video posted on his Instagram account.
Austin had been projected as a late first-round pick in the 2014 NBA draft. He underwent a standard physical at the NBA combine, where an electrocardiogram test revealed an abnormality in his heart. After additional genetic tests, results came back positive for Marfan syndrome.
"I am cleared. I am about to be out here pursuing my dream. Ever since my doctors told me that I was cleared, it's been in my mind: I want to go chase this. It's always been my dream. At the same time, I'm a God-fearing man, and I believe that everything happens in life for a reason. So why would God put it in my doctor's heart to say that I was cleared if he didn't want me to go and chase my dream and share my testimony with millions of people around the world."
According to the Marfan Foundation, Marfan syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects the connective tissue that holds together all of the body's cells, organs and tissue. It also plays an important role in helping the body grow and develop properly. Because connective tissue is found throughout the body, Marfan syndrome can affect many different parts of the body.
The 7-foot-1 Austin was notified of the health issue just days before the 2014 draft, and he was recommended to quit playing basketball immediately.
He received an outpouring of support, including from NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who invited Austin to the 2014 draft and made him a ceremonial pick between the 15th and 16th selections.
The crowd at Barclays Center rose to its feet as Austin, sitting in the waiting area with most of the first-round picks, hugged family members and put on a generic NBA cap. He went up to the stage and posed with Silver, just as all the drafts picks do when they are called.
Austin had already overcame the odds to play basketball. He has been blind in his right eye since age 16 after suffering a retinal detachment and four subsequent surgeries.
He spent two seasons at Baylor, averaging 12.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 28.9 minutes per game.
Baylor coach Scott Drew said on ESPN Radio's "Freddie and Fitz" he "can't wait to see what's next" for his former player.
"It was a lot of excitement and the coaching staff was going crazy. I know Isiah is someone who meant a lot to our university and program, Drew said. "But every player that plays for you, you feel like is your son. And to see the excitement when he found out he was cleared... One of the best days I'll remember."
Some athletes have died on the court as a result of Marfan syndrome and associated aortic problems, among them noted Olympic volleyball star Flo Hyman.
Features of the disorder are most often found in the heart, blood vessels, bones, joints and eyes. Some Marfan features -- for example, aortic enlargement (expansion of the main blood vessel that carries blood away from the heart to the rest of the body) -- can be life-threatening. The lungs, skin and nervous system may also be affected.