D.J. Bowles gets defibrillator
Days after collapsing in practice, Wichita State freshman guard D.J. Bowles underwent surgery at the Mayo Clinic on Thursday to have an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) installed, coach Gregg Marshall announced in a statement Friday.
The school did not specify a diagnosis.
"This young man has spent his whole life trying to become a basketball player, and he is a really good player," Marshall said in the statement. "More importantly, he's a super nice kid from a great family. We're doing our due diligence to make sure we can best serve him for the rest of his life, not just his career."
Marshall and athletic director Eric Sexton credited the school's trainers and medical personnel for a quick reaction after Bowles collapsed just 30 minutes into practice on Sept. 3.
"I want to commend athletic trainer Todd Fagan, our athletic training staff, and emergency medical personnel, for quick and professional response exhibited in dealing with D.J.'s situation," Sexton said through the statement. "In addition, a thank you to our partner, Via Christi, for the care they provided, and to the doctors and staff at the Mayo Clinic who have been providing care to D.J. All of our thoughts go out to D.J., his family, and our men's basketball program."
A source close to the program told ESPN.com on Friday that officials within the program and medical personnel are still determining Bowles' future.
"Whether or not he plays again is too early to know," the source said.
Bowles first mentioned the procedure on Twitter.
"Praying that I have a successful surgery this morning," Bowles wrote on Thursday morning.
Bowles, a point guard from Cleveland, Tenn., who committed to the school last November, collapsed while practicing at Wichita State's Koch Arena. He was rushed to nearby Via Christi hospital and eventually was released on Sunday after undergoing a variety of tests.
If Bowles continues his career, he will not be the first player to compete at the Division I level with an ICD.
Allan Chaney, who had his ICD installed in 2010, averaged 14.5 points and 8.1 rebounds for High Point last season. He had transferred from Virginia Tech, where doctors would not clear him to play. Also, Will Kimble competed for UTEP from 2004-06 with an ICD. Utah State's Danny Berger has been cleared to play this season, according to ESPN.com's Andy Katz. Berger went into cardiac arrest in December and received an ICD. He is allowed to compete without any restrictions.
It is not, however, common for a player to continue competing.
Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg's NBA career ended after he was diagnosed with a heart ailment and received an ICD. Former New Mexico forward Emmanuel Negedu, who wasn't cleared by doctors at Tennessee, played until a bad reading on his ICD ended his career in 2011.
Creighton's Josh Jones quit basketball in December after fainting before a game against Nebraska. He had subsequent surgery to correct atrial flutters.
Concerns about heart issues among athletes, especially basketball players, have been amplified since former Loyola Marymount star Hank Gathers collapsed and died in a regular-season game in 1990. He'd been diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy prior to his death.
Many people afflicted with similar heart ailments have no obvious signs of their conditions.
"The hardest part is I had no symptoms. I felt great," Hoiberg told ESPN.com last year. "I'd just had my best year in the NBA, and here I'm told that I'm going to have to have a procedure that you normally associate with your grandparents. I was 32 years old, I had four kids. It was extremely difficult. … But I was basically out there on the court playing with a ticking time bomb in my chest."