Former Baylor Center Isaiah Austin Diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome

By DJ Byrnes on June 22, 2014 at 1:13p

A player who many believed would one day be the first legally-blind person to play in the NBA, former Baylor center Isaiah Austin's career has prematurely ended due to a rare genetic mutation.

Baylor has released the following statement:

Isaiah Austin has been diagnosed with a career-ending medical condition. Genetic testing as part of preparation for the 2014 NBA Draft revealed that Austin suffers from Marfan syndrome.

"This is devastating news, but Isaiah has the best support system anyone could ask for, and he knows that all of Baylor Nation is behind him," head coach Scott Drewsaid. "His health is the most important thing, and while it's extremely sad that he won't be able to play in the NBA, our hope is that he'll return to Baylor to complete his degree and serve as a coach in our program."

Marfan syndrome is caused by a genetic mutation that leads to problems in connective tissues throughout the body. One feature of Marfan syndrome is aortic enlargement, which can be life-threatening. According to The Marfan Foundation, about one in 5,000 people have Marfan syndrome. For more information, visit

Sometimes, life isn't fair.


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mobboss1984's picture

Extremely sad news! I pray for this young guy. Best of luck to him and his family.

Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.
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+5 HS
teddyballgame's picture

I remember watching him in the tournament this year...he is a really good player.  I was amazed when they said he was partially blind.

+1 HS
PittBuckeye's picture

Such a nice stand up kid, that interview was hard to watch earlier (I didn't finish it) such a hard time, and he has to deal with ESPN cameras. Best of luck man, hope you come out on top.

Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

The silver lining is that it was detected before it cost him his life.

+3 HS
Dougger's picture

Most definitely. Many times it actually goes undiagnosed until it's too late.

I like football

+1 HS
Jordan Wagner's picture

I watched he ESPN interview. It really stinks he won't be able to live out his dream of being drafted in the NBA, especially since he earned it. 

It would be such a great story if one of the NBA teams used their 2nd round pick on Austin and brought him on in a different role. 

The 76ers have seven draft picks (3, 10, 32, 39, 47, 52, 54). Obviously they can't afford to have seven rookies on their team. Would be nice to see them use one on Austin. 

Unky Buck's picture

My youngest sister was very involved in the March for Marfan at Case Western and still supports when she can. It's great to see that they've caught this early on and he will have a better chance of managing it. Certainly need to wish the young man the best in handling this.

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+2 HS
Seattle Linga's picture

So sad - hopefully he will get better soon very soon

rdubs's picture

Unfortunately Marfan is not something you get better from.  My wife is studying it for her PhD.  It is a genetic disease that really has no cure.  You can manage it in various ways, but life expectancy is greatly reduced because the aortic tissue becomes so disfigured that it can't function properly and often ruptures.

ToetotheFace's picture

I have a (minor) heart disease that causes aortic enlargement, and am on pills developed for those with diseases that involve connective tissues, so I can see how that would be a major issue. Stopped me from ever being able to play sports at an organized level.

sbentz4's picture

I know that it is a let down mentally, totally agree, but what about the financial let down.  He will be lucky to make anywhere near what he could have made in one NBA contract for the rest of his life.  Feel really bad for him...

HighBallAce's picture

I truly am sorry to hear this. I have Marfan's Syndrome myself and it caused me to have to go through a ton of doctor's appointments clear up through high school and clear into my college playing days. I often wonder just how far I could have gone had it not been for Marfan's. I ended up having my heart basically rupture in 3 places and it was a miracle that I lived through that. It all happened basically on my 30th birthday and within six months of that, my wife came home one day and said that she didn't sign on to take care of me, that was supposed to be my job for her. I lived in Texas where everything that the couple has worked for together is split evenly down the middle. Well I was on alot of pain killers and was of the opinion that we could work things out. I had to move back here to Ohio and live while she made up her mind to finally file for divorce after a year and half apart. She had had a couple affairs which I had proof of and could have used against her but we had a daughter and I did not want to drag her through the mud either so I walked away from a brand new 2 story house that I had built for her and several acres of land as well as 2 new vehicles that she got out of the divorce all because I was too stupid to realize there was another man living in my home. Now I know this boy hasn't gone through any of this but I hope that he doesn't. I pray that he has a good life after basketball cause I know just how hard it is and I can truly empathize with this young man. May God bless him and make his life a lot easier than what I had to go through. I now have another daughter who is my world and I get to keep touch with my oldest from Texas so all in all, things didn't turn out too bad for me but it sure was dicey there for awhile. Marfan's Syndrome is no laughing matter. It can take you away from your loved one's in a matter of seconds if it doesn't go unchecked. It's a hard life but one that can be lived as a blessed life as well. Again, good luck to this young man.

+2 HS
dubjayfootball90's picture

Terrible, man. You hate to see something like this. Be strong, Isaiah.Thoughts and Prayers are with you, bud.

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.