Bronny James, the 18-year-old son of Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James, suffered a sudden cardiac arrest during a basketball practice at USC’s Galen Center in July, and the James family announced on Friday that Bronny has been diagnosed with a congenital heart defect.
The “probable cause” of Bronny’s sudden cardiac arrest was an “anatomically and functionally significant congenital heart defect,” per a James family spokesperson. They remain confident that LeBron’s eldest son can return to basketball in the “very near future.”
Congenital heart defect was the cause of Bronny James’ cardiac arrest on July 24 and there is confidence he will make a full recovery and return to basketball in the very near future, per statement from James family spokesperson. pic.twitter.com/LLv4S9ro0x
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 25, 2023
The full statement by Stephanie Rosa of the LeBron James Family Foundation reads:
“After a comprehensive initial evaluation at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center led by Dr. Merije Chukumerije and follow-up evaluations at the Mayo Clinic led by Dr. Michael J. Ackerman and Atlantic Health/Morristown Medical Center led by Dr. Matthew W. Martinez, the probable cause of Mr. James’ sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) has been identified.
“It is an anatomically and functionally significant Congenital Heart Defect which can and will be treated. We are very confident in Bronny’s full recovery and return to basketball in the very near future. We will continue to provide updates to media and respectfully reiterate the family’s request for privacy.”
Last month, Bronny James was transported to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in an ambulance from USC’s Galen Center around 9:26 a.m. on Monday, July 24. By Tuesday, July 25, he was in stable condition and no longer in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). James was discharged from the hospital two days later.
USC recruit Bronny James diagnosed with congenital heart defect one month after suffering sudden cardiac arrest, James family confident he will return to basketball in the near future
“I want to thank the countless people sending my family love and prayers. We feel you and I’m so grateful,” LeBron posted to X, formerly known as Twitter. “Everyone doing great. We have our family together, safe and healthy, and we feel your love. Will have more to say when we’re ready but I wanted to tell everyone how much your support has meant to all of us! #JamesGang.”
The causes of a congenital heart defect are unknown. Nevertheless, several risk factors should be considered. Maternal illnesses such as diabetes or autoimmune disorders, chromosomal abnormalities or genetic mutations, lithium and isotretinoin drugs, and family history may increase the likelihood.
Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of SpaceX and Tesla CEO, suggested the possibility that Bronny suffered a cardiac arrest due to the COVID-19 vaccine. The timing of James’ health scare raises questions.
Musk, 52, posted this message to X in July: “We cannot ascribe everything to the vaccine, but, by the same token, we cannot ascribe nothing. Myocarditis is a known side-effect. The only question is whether it is rare or common.”
In May 2023, Bronny James committed to USC after receiving other offers from Memphis and Ohio State. James was interested in Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Oregon. However, the McDonald’s All-American did not receive offers from the five aforementioned schools.
Other NBA players to experience heart-related problems
Moreover, a congenital heart defect is a rarity among athletes. Ronny Turiaf was selected 37th overall by the Lakers in the 2005 NBA Draft out of Gonzaga University. Four weeks after the draft, an enlarged aortic root was discovered in Turiaf’s heart during a physical examination.
The Lakers voided Turiaf’s contract but retained his rights in case he was cleared to play again after surgery. Turiaf underwent a six-hour open-heart surgery on July 26, 2005. His expected recovery time was between six and twelve months. The Martinique native re-signed with the Lakers on Jan. 17, 2006, less than six months after his surgery.
During the Washington Wizards’ 2007-08 training camp, then-center Etan Thomas underwent a routine physical exam. A leaking aortic valve was discovered. On Oct. 11, 2007, Thomas successfully underwent open heart surgery.
In January 2012, then-Boston Celtics forward Jeff Green underwent open-heart surgery at the Cleveland Clinic to repair an aortic aneurysm, sidelining him for the 2011-12 season.
Jeff Green had open heart surgery in 2012, which included stopping his heart for an hour.
11 years later, he’s an NBA champion 🙌 pic.twitter.com/gtcEjNOtmY
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 13, 2023
In April 2015, ex-NBA player and then-Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg underwent a successful replacement of his aortic valve at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
Additionally, Channing Frye missed the 2012-13 season due to an enlarged heart. During the summer of 2012, Frye received a physical screening by the Phoenix Suns, and medical personnel discovered an enlarged heart via dilated cardiomyopathy.
Of course, former Celtics center Chris Wilcox was diagnosed with a heart irregularity before he was waived by the team on March 23, 2012. Wilcox underwent aortic surgery on March 29 and missed the remainder of the 2011-12 season.
At least Bronny James is not alone on this one. He should be able to continue playing basketball.
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Source: Basketball Insider