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Promising update on Bronny James, LeBron James and family ‘optimistic’ for recovery

USC Trojans guard Bronny James is making steady improvement in his recovery after suffering a cardiac arrest during a team practice on Monday.

Bronny, age 18, was working out with his Trojans teammates in Los Angeles on Monday when he went into cardiac arrest. A 911 call was made at 9:26 a.m. from the Galen Center, where Bronny was unconscious and a Code 3 was issued. James was later taken to the intensive care unit at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

James was later released from the ICU and declared in stable condition, with his family releasing a statement thanking doctors and the Trojans’ medical staff for their work.

“Yesterday while practicing Bronny James suffered a cardiac arrest. Medical staff was able to treat Bronny and take him to the hospital. He is now in stable condition and no longer in ICU. We ask for respect and privacy for the James family and we will update media when there is more information. LeBron and Savannah wish to publicly send their deepest thanks and appreciation to the USC medical and athletic staff for their incredible work and dedication to the safety of their athletes.””

James family statement on the hospitalization of Bronny James (H/T ESPN)

In the days immediately following James’ hospitalization, little information was disclosed regarding a potential cause or further medical testing. Fortunately, it appears the teenager is on his way to recovering fully.

According to TMZ Sports, Bronny James is doing well enough now that his parents are “relieved” and feeling optimistic. Importantly, the family remains anxious about what caused Bronny’s heart to stop but they’ve received reassurances from doctors to quell long-term concerns.

In the coming days, Bronny will undergo a series of tests and receive follow-up examinations with doctors. However, both the family and medical officials are increasingly optimistic in part due to how short his stay in ICU was on Monday.

Keyontae Johnson, Vincent Iwuchukwu offer examples of hope for Bronny James

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament East Regional-Florida Atlantic vs Kansas State
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

In the past, young athletes who suffered a cardiac event and were diagnosed with a heart issue had their collegiate and professional careers ended due to the medical risk of their playing. However, there are two recent examples of basketball players cleared to keep playing after a medical scare.

On Dec. 12, 2020, Florida Gators forward Keyontae Johnson collapsed on the court during a game against the Florida State Seminoles. He was in a medically-induced coma for three days and was later diagnosed with heart inflammation.

Johnson made a full recovery and later entered the transfer portal. He was cleared to play by the NCAA and played for the Kansas State Wildcats. In his senior season with the Wildcats, Johnson averaged 17.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. He was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and earned third-team All-American honors and First Team All-Big 12 honors.

After declaring for the 2023 NBA Draft, the NBA announced in May that Johnson was cleared to be drafted by teams. He was selected by the Oklahoma City Thunder with the 50th overall pick and is expected to play significant minutes for the Oklahoma City Blue, the Thunder’s G-League affiliate.

There’s also a recent example of a player who returned to the court after suffering cardiac arrest on the Trojans’ roster. Center Vincent Iwuchukwu went into cardiac arrest during a Trojans practice on July 1, 2022. The 7-foot-1 center became increasingly dizzy while getting water and then collapsed. He was rushed to a local hospital after going into cardiac arrest, with a defibrillator saving his life.

In January, Iwuchukwu returned to the court, suiting up for USC in 14 games. He will be on the court for the Trojans this season and, if all goes well, Iwuchukwu could provide guidance for Bronny James during his recovery with all parties hoping the teenager eventually returns to basketball.

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