Baylor Center Isaiah Austin has Marfan Syndrome; Ends NBA Career

| June 22, 2014 | 4 Comments

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Baylor center Isaiah Austin has defied the odds to this point to become a legitimate NBA player, but his pro career has ended before it could even begin.

According to BaylorBears.com, Austin has been diagnosed with a career-ending medical condition known as Marfan syndrome. Genetic testing as part of preparation for the 2014 NBA Draft revealed that Austin suffers from the disease, which will force him to retire from competitive basketball.

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

Austin led the Big 12 Conference with 119 blocked shots in 2013-14, which ranked as the second-most in Baylor single-season history. He finishes his BU career with 177 blocks, which ties current NBA players Quincy Acy for second on the Bears’ all-time list.

An Arlington, Texas, native, Austin played in 73 games over his two-year Baylor career. He averaged 12.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 28.9 minutes per game. Austin led Baylor to a 2013 NIT Championship and a 2014 Sweet 16 berth, helping the Bears to 49 victories over his two seasons in Waco.

Austin was named to the Big 12 All-Defensive team and was an honorable mention All-Big 12 selection by the league’s coaches in 2013-14. He was named to the Big 12 Championship All-Tournament team after setting a league record with 18 blocks in the tournament.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Austin that he rebounds from this and is able to move on with his life.

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