I'd heard the news, seen the headlines, but just read the article now. Changes the story a little bit (not in a bad way or anything, just in how it unfolded).
I guess TMZ broke the story which said:
TMZ Sports spoke with the 18-year-old superstar who said he was having a routine checkup recently when the docs "found a medical issue dealing with my heart."
But when you read the ESPN article it says:
O'Neal told TMZ Sports he "felt funny" during team workouts this summer so UCLA's doctors made him wear a heart monitor so he could push a button whenever he wanted to alert them. He said he pressed the button during one summer practice and doctors later discovered the heart ailment that will force him to miss the upcoming season.
Now having actually watched the original TMZ video, this is all in there, but just reading TMZ article and seeing the headlines, it sounded like this diagnosis just came out of the blue, I imagined during some pre-season physical all college players have to take. But no, Shareef had already started to "feel funny," so probably not so out of the blue as I first assumed.
Good that they caught it. Good on Shareef for telling somebody. Good on the UCLA staff with the heart monitors (actually interested to learn about that piece, was it just like a Life Alert button, or something more?), especially when you have stories of these college football players (Braeden Bradforth at Kansas
, Jordan McNair at Maryland
, Darius Minor at Maine
, etc.) dying during practice, and especially with the horror stories of coaches (like at Maryland
) ignoring the players' pleas. I could definitely picture a few old school style coaches (like Rick Majerus) just yelling at the player (in the most graphic way possible) to stop being a baby and run more sprints.