UPDATED: 1:10 p.m. ET, Dec. 22 —
Original story: Dec. 12
After nearly two weeks of several key updates on his health, Keyontae Johnson has been released from the hospital, according to a tweet from Bleacher Report via a report from the college basketball star’s family.
“Today is a great day! Keyontae is being released from the hospital. We continue to be amazed at the pace of his recovery and look forward to spending Christmas together as a family,” the statement released Tuesday said.
The Johnson family thanked their supporters for well wishes and promised to give more updates on the University of Florida athlete’s condition as information becomes readily available.
The college basketball star was hospitalized after collapsing mid-game on Dec 12. Johnson has made significant progress, but prognoses from his family and college administrators suggest the 21-year-old’s road to recovery could be a lengthy one.
After doctors brought Johnson out from a medically induced coma in which he was placed last week, the University of Florida said he was “following simple commands and undergoing further tests.
Johnson’s grandfather told USA Today about the coma.
“He may have had activity in the brain, so they induced the coma,” Larry DeJarnett said Monday. “They put him on medication to keep him sedated.”
While it was previously reported that Johnson was one of the players on the team who contracted Covid over the summer, his grandfather said that may not be true after all.
“I know that there was some of the times when some of the team was quarantined, yes,” DeJarnett added. “I don’t know if he was one of them or not.”
Following his immediate hospitalization, Johnson was listed as being in critical but stable condition nearly 24 hours after he collapsed mid-game against Florida State University in Tallahassee on Dec. 12. The school said Johnson was accompanied by his parents, head coach Mike White as well as the associate athletic director for sports health.
It was unclear what role Covid has played, if any.
Researchers haven’t determined all of the long-term effects on Covid survivors, but it may be something they’re exploring or at least factoring into their care for Johnson, the preseason player of the year in the uber-competitive Southeastern Conference.
The Associated Press reported that “the coronavirus can lead to myocarditis, a viral infection of the heart muscle. At its most severe, myocarditis can lead to sudden cardiac arrest and has been a documented cause of death for young, otherwise healthy athletes.”
Covid has also shown itself to disproportionately affect Black people. Johnson is African American.
Johnson’s collapse on the court was eerily similar to that of Hank Gathers, a college basketball star decades ago.
After completing an alley-oop play, he collapsed on his face following a time-out. The Tallahassee Democrat reported that a photo taken by the Gainesville Sun showed “Johnson’s eyes were open and he had blood on his face and neck.”
The following video footage of Johnson’s collapse is troubling and should be viewed with discretion.
Back in 1990, Gathers, who set scoring records as a member of the Loyola Marymount University Lions, died on the court in the middle of a game after he collapsed following an alley-oop play.
Johnson, a 21-year-old 6-5 junior forward from Norfolk, Virginia, is led the Gators in scoring with an average of nearly 20 points per game after three games played entering the game contest against Florida State. He scored five points before he collapsing.
Based on his performance last year before the season was cut short due to Covid concerns, Johnson was flirting with the idea of leaving college early and entering the NBA draft. In April, he decided to return to school.
“I can’t wait to get back and play with my brothers again next season!” Johnson tweeted April 14. “We’ve got unfinished business & the Gators will be ready to go. I’m excited to keep growing on and off the court with Coach White and our coaching staff here & keep playing in front of the gator family.”