Parents: UF hoops player Johnson stable, improving after collapse

Finally, good news on Florida basketball player Keyontae Johnson.

The University of Florida sent out an update from Johnson’s parents, Nika and Marrecus, on Tuesday afternoon, with the first bit of positive news after he collapsed in a game Saturday at Florida State.

“Keyontae is in stable condition today, breathing on his own and speaking with us and with his doctors here at UF Health. He even FaceTimed the team! We feel so much love and support from everyone, and we’re beyond grateful for the care and attention that Keyontae has received throughout these past several days.

“We will continue to share updates about Keyontae’s health and progress. We have seen how much people love and care for him. We hope people recognize that information that doesn’t come from us or the athletic department may not be accurate. We are working closely with Keyontae’s doctors and the UAA to provide information to everyone who cares so deeply about Keyontae and has been praying for him.”

Johnson was taken from the court on a stretcher and admitted to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital after collapsing in the first half of the game.

There, he was placed in a medically induced coma, according to a report from USA Today.

Like many of his Florida teammates, Johnson tested positive for COVID-19 during the summer. Although the cause of Johnson’s collapse has not been revealed, the coronavirus can lead to myocarditis, a viral infection of the heart muscle. At its most severe, myocarditis can lead to sudden cardiac arrest and has been a documented cause of death for young, otherwise healthy athletes.

“There’s a debate about how often that occurs in anybody and in particular college athletes because if you develop myocarditis, then you have a risk for complication such as an arrhythmia or a fast and dangerous heartbeat that can kill you,” said COVID-19 researcher and cardiologist Dr. Michael Koren. “The best data we have right now is that between one and 10 or 15% of people develop some form of inflammation in their heart after COVID-19 infections.”

The SEC mandates strict protocols, including rigorous heart testing, before players can be cleared to return to play following positive COVID-19 tests.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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