Forward Keyontae Johnson was having a great start to the beginning of his junior year. Leading Florida in points with 16 per game, he looked primed for a big year. And then the unthinkable happened.
Last Saturday early in the game vs. in-state rival Florida State, Johnson collapsed onto the floor.
Johnson’s condition was critical for days, even spending time in a medically-induced coma. He finally seems to be coming out of it and is feeling much better, but the question remains: what caused the collapse?
We know that Johnson was diagnosed with COVID-19 this summer. And there have been varying reports about how often COVID leads to myocarditis, which is essentially a heart infection. Since many athletes have had and recovered from the coronavirus, the question must be asked whether or not Johnson’s collapse was COVID-related.
“No one’s telling us,” John Calipari said during Thursday’s press conference. “We know he had COVID, but I would hope if there was something related to COVID, they’d let us all know, because I have a couple kids who had it earlier.”
Chris Mack says that 90% of his team, which is currently on pause due to COVID-19 restrictions, has had the coronavirus. We know that many teams have been hit, but so far there has not been an active major college basketball player succumb to the virus. If evidence exists that playing after being infected puts you at high risk for more extreme medical issues, we need to put a stop on the whole thing until we get it figured out.
Johnson’s collapse has urged Calipari and others to make note that anything related to COVID should be disclosed for the safety of the players. No official report has come out suggesting that there was a connection between COVID and his recent emergency, and everyone is thankful that he is now improving rapidly. But will the cause of his collapse be discovered? And if so, will it be made public? For every athlete’s sake at every level, I sure hope so.