Former College Basketball Star Isaiah Austin Gets Second Chance at Pro Career
A second chance to make your dreams come true is so rare in life, but that is exactly what Isaiah Austin is getting after once being told that a rare medical condition was standing in his way.
Austin was a college basketball star at Baylor University. Despite being legally blind in one eye, the 7-foot-1 center had all the skills and athletic ability to make it in the NBA. However, doctors did not allow him to pursue a career in pro basketball.
Prior to the 2014 NBA Draft, Austin was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome, a rare genetic condition that affects the connective tissue inside the body. Doctors did not clear him to play professional basketball, fearing his life could be endangered.
At the draft, the NBA made a kind gesture by making Austin an honorary draft pick, giving him a brief moment to live out his dream, even though he would never play a minute in the NBA.
But now, it appears Austin’s NBA career may not be dead just yet. Austin announced on Wednesday that doctors cleared him four months ago to play basketball. Since that time, he has been working out, preparing himself and his body for another chance in the NBA.
“I’m able to make the choice if I want to go back and pursue my dream again. I am cleared. I am about to be out here pursuing my dream,” Austin said.
His next task is convincing the medical staffs of NBA teams that he’s fit to play, and then convincing teams that he can contribute on the court. But that’s nothing compared to what Austin has already overcome in his life.
“If you just look where I started from — in the eighth grade, I had a retina tear,” Austin explains. “I had four emergency surgeries and lost my vision by the time I was a junior in high school. I wasn’t supposed to be able to still play basketball. By the time I was a senior, I graduated top-three in my class in the country. I had my choice to go to any university I wanted to go to to play basketball.”
Austin has overcome all that, and now he appears ready to overcome Marfan syndrome and earn a spot in the NBA. Whether he makes it to the NBA or not, Austin has already accomplished so much and inspired so many, and he’s a player everyone should be rooting for to succeed.