Florida striker, Keyontae Johnson, collapsed after the time-out ended during Saturday’s game against Florida state and was in need of emergency medical care. Johnson was taken off the ground on a stretcher and rushed to Tallahassee Memorial for evaluation.
Gators said he is in critical condition but stable in hospital.
Johnson was just submerged before falling to the ground as the team broke the rally. Several Gators were in tears and a couple buried their faces in towels while coach Mike White assembled his team to perform prayers.
The match continued after a few minutes, but the Gators were visibly touched by the terrifying sight of seeing one of their teammates in the midst of a medical emergency.
Florida led 11-3 after Johnson’s dunk, but Florida scored the next seven points, and led 45-35 in the first half, beating the Gators 42-24 after Johnson’s collapse. The match ended with a Florida 83-71 victory.
“Please keep praying for the Keyontae and his family. We all love him,” White posted on Twitter after the match.
Johnson, from Norfolk, Virginia, scored an average of 14 points for the team last season, in line with the 7.1 rebound. He also drove the Gators with 38 robberies.
Florida coach Leonard Hamilton said Florida was given the option to stop the game but Johnson’s teammates wanted to continue. Hamilton said: “Whatever they think is in the best interest of their team, I will accept it.” My management asked me, and I told them we would be fine with what they decide. I understood that they wanted to play. “
Like most of his teammates, Johnson tested positive for Covid-19 over the summer. Although the cause of Johnson’s disease is not immediately known, the coronavirus can lead to myocarditis, which is a viral infection of the heart muscle. At its most severe, myocarditis can lead to sudden cardiac arrest and has been a well-documented cause of death for young healthy athletes.
The Southeastern Conference imposes strict protocols, including stringent heart tests, before players are allowed to return to play after positive Covid-19 tests.
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