University of Florida small forward Keyontae Johnson collapsed on the court during the first half of their game Saturday against Florida State.
Johnson, the preseason SEC Player of the Year, was carried off on a stretcher.
Updated Sat. Dec 12, 2020, at 12:25 p.m.: ESPN said Johnson was in “critical but stable condition” at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital when the broadcast came back for the second half.
Updated Sat. Dec 12, 2020, at 2:05 p.m.: AP later reported that Johnson had previously tested positive for COVID-19, and of course that will lead to questions about possible myocarditis (though no official diagnosis has yet been offered), which has struck a number of athletes, including Eduardo Rodriguez.
From the AP:
Like most of his teammates, Johnson tested positive for COVID-19 during the summer. Although the cause of Johnson’s ailment was not immediately known, the coronavirus can lead to myocarditis, a viral infection of the heart muscle. At its most severe, myocarditis can lead to sudden cardiac arrest and has been a documented cause of death for young, otherwise healthy athletes.
In an eerie flashback to the death of Hank Gathers, Johnson was coming off an alley-oop ahead of a media timeout. From Eric Barrow’s Deadspin story in August:
I can still see it.
I can see his eyes focus after throwing down an alley-oop dunk. I can see his awareness, as his mind flips to defense, his hands on his thighs, his body leaning in. And then, as he turns away from the camera, without warning, he is gone.
His body crumbling to the ground, never to rise again.
One can only hope we are not looking at a full repeat of that sickening scene.
It was four minutes into the game when the timeout was cut short and ESPNU returned to the broadcast. Play did not restart on the floor as Johnson was being attended. It was later reported he was taken to a hospital, though the cause of his passing out was not yet known or released:
Johnson was named an early leader for SEC Player of the Year. In the Gators first three games, Johnson is averaging 19.7 points per game and 6 rebounds.
This is a developing story.