Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Keyontae Johnson diagnosed with acute myocarditis: Report

Keyontae Johnson collapsed Saturday but was released from the hospital Tuesday, Dec. 22.
Keyontae Johnson collapsed Saturday but was released from the hospital Tuesday, Dec. 22.
Image: AP

Keyontae Johnson has been diagnosed with acute myocarditis, a heart inflammation, according to The Gainesville Sun.

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Johnson, selected as the preseason SEC Player of the Year at the University of Florida, collapsed on December 12 in a game against Florida State. He was rushed to a local hospital, listed in critical but stable condition. Two days later, his health improved and he was listed in stable condition.

Today, Johnson was released from the hospital.

In a statement, Johnson’s parents made sure to not “draw definitive conclusions” about their son’s “illness.”

But according to a source from Zach Abolverdi, a Gators sports beat writer for the Gainesville Sun, Johnson was diagnosed with acute myocarditis after receiving an MRI on his heart. Abolverdi says the source was a person with “first-hand knowledge” of the situation who, “spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensibility [sic] of the situation.”

Johnson, along with other UF teammates, tested positive for COVID-19 over the summer.

Myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart, is most often caused by viral infections and has been linked to COVID-19.

Abolverdi writes that Johnson’s reported condition “can’t be definitively linked to his COVID diagnosis,” but “it could prompt the SEC and other conferences to further test athletes who have contracted the virus on concern the inflammation could develop later.”

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Back in the 90s, myocarditis was found in Loyola Marymount star Hank Gathers and NBA great Reggie Lewis, two basketball players died on the court in the first half of the decade. Like Johnson, Gathers collapsed in the middle of a game, later succumbing to the heart illness. Lewis also collapsed during a game, recovered and was cleared to play before collapsing again during a workout and later died of the heart disease.

According to SEC protocols, Gator athletes who tested positive for the virus had to complete multiple cardiac screenings.

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Johnson was considered an NBA prospect before the start of the season.

Abolverdi says Johnson will be out at least three months and will “likely” miss the remainder of the 2020-2021 college basketball season.

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This is a developing story.