NBA Draft: Heartbreak for Isaiah Austin

Austin’s NBA career is over before it started as he’s diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome.

There is seldom something sadder in sports than a career cut short by circumstances outside of the athlete's control. These cases are usually career-ending injuries but for Isaiah Austin it’s far, far worse.

It emerged last night the young Baylor center had been diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called Marfan Syndrome.

Marfan Syndrome is a condition that affects the body’s connective tissue, often causing the degeneration and breakdown of these tissues. Typically the condition will the patient’s skeletal system but in more serious cases can affect the circulatory system and the central nervous system with potentially fatal consequences. The diagnosis means that Austin’s playing career is over.

The news comes just days before the NBA draft, in which Austin was being touted as second round pick. NBA commissioner Adam Silver has invited Austin to the draft as his guest to try and ease just some of the huge disappointment Austin will be feeling.

Austin averaged 11.3 points and 3.2 blocks per game this season with Baylor despite playing without any vision in his right eye. As a middle school student Austin suffered a detached retina that could not be fixed with surgery. After overcoming such a setback to put himself in position to finally realise his dream of playing in the NBA, the news that he’ll never achieve that dream must be beyond devastating.

Beyond basketball, however, the timing of this diagnosis can be seen in a positive light. The longer something like Marfan Syndrome goes unnoticed, the more dangerous it becomes and in catching it earlier Austin has given himself the best chance to cope with such a condition.

A huge amount of sympathy has gone out to Austin with thousands taking to social media to wish him well and it is thought that Austin will remain involved in basketball in some other capacity, perhaps pursuing a career in coaching. No doubt all basketball fans wish him the best for whatever career he chooses.