By Katie Moisse / ABC News
College basketball star and NBA prospect Isaiah Austin sobbed Sunday after receiving a career-ending medical diagnosis: Marfan syndrome.
The 7-foot, 1-inch center, 20, said he heard the news from his mom after undergoing genetic tests as part of a pre-NBA draft physical.
“They said I wouldn’t be able to play basketball anymore at a competitive level,” he told ESPN through tears. “They found the gene in my blood sample. They told me that my arteries in my heart are enlarged and that if I overwork myself and push too hard that my heart could rupture.”
The Texas athlete was expected to be a second-round pick in Thursday’s NBA draft, according to the league’s website.
“I had a dream that my name was going to be called,” Austin said.
Marfan syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects connective tissue throughout the body, including the heart, according to the National Institutes of Health.
“Most people with Marfan syndrome have heart and blood vessel problems, such as a weakness in the aorta or heart valves that leak,” the NIH website reads. “They may also have problems with their bones, eyes, skin, nervous system, and lungs.”
Austin lost vision in his right eye in his teens as a result of a detached retina, The Associated Press reported. It’s unclear whether the injury was related to his newly uncovered diagnosis.
People with Marfan syndrome also tend to be tall and thin, according to the NIH. There is no cure for the disorder, but certain treatments can help stave off complications, the agency’s website reads.
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