Bronny James, the elder son of basketball superstar LeBron James, suffered a cardiac arrest during basketball practice at the University of Southern California on Monday.
The 18-year-old was treated at the scene before being taken to the hospital, according to a statement issued by a family spokesperson. The statement said that Bronny James is no longer in the intensive care unit and is in stable condition.
The spokesperson said the family is requesting privacy and that updates will be made available in time.
“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,” the spokesperson said.
The 6-foot-3 incoming freshman for the USC Trojans is ranked 20th on ESPN’s Top 100 2023 recruits. The university said it was not in a position to comment out of respect for student privacy.
Another incoming freshman USC basketball player was hospitalized last summer after suffering a cardiac arrest. Vincent Iwuchukwu spent several days recovering at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after collapsing during an informal team practice on July 1, 2022.
USC spokesman Jeremy Pepper declined a request from The Associated Press for comment or additional details, citing student privacy concerns. The AP also left a message seeking comment from the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
A representative for USC outside the Galen Center on Tuesday said the school would not have a briefing or issue a statement about James’ health scare.
Bronny James announced in May that he would play college basketball for the Trojans, whose campus is less than two miles from the downtown arena of his father’s Los Angeles Lakers. USC’s basketball team is holding offseason practices in preparation for a two-week European tour next month.
His father is the leading scorer in NBA history and a four-time champion, but Bronny James is an elite talent in his own right, establishing himself as one of the nation’s top point guard recruits before he chose the Trojans late in the commitment cycle.
Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin, who suffered cardiac arrest during an NFL game last season, tweeted his support: “Prayers to Bronny & The James Family as well (prayer emoji) here for you guys just like you have been for me my entire process.”
What causes cardiac arrest in young athletes?
Shortly after the news of James’ cardiac arrest, the American Heart Association said it happens when the “heart malfunctions and stops beating unexpectedly.” The organization said to call 911 and “push hard & fast in the center of the chest until help arrives.”
While cardiac arrest in youth athletes is rare, it does happen. About 60 million kids in the U.S. participate in organized sports, and cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death among young athletes.
Dr. Korin Hudson, a MedStar Health emergency physician, told CBS Evening News anchor and managing editor Norah O’Donnell that the best way to be prepared for the potential of cardiac arrest is to have the training and equipment necessary to respond.
That equipment includes an AED — an automated external defibrillator, which was used to help save Hamlin’s life. Officers in New Jersey helped a teen who suffered cardiac arrest during a basketball game by also using it.
If used within the first minute, chances of survival are close to 90%. The American Heart Association also offers online courses teaching CPR and how to use an AED, Hudson said.
In January, Damar Hamlin of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills suffered a cardiac arrest in the middle of a “Monday Night Football” game and was hospitalized for over a week.
“Prayers to Bronny & The James family as well,” Hamlin wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. “Here for you guys just like you have been for me my entire process.”
In April, Hamlin said his cardiac arrest was caused by commotio cordis.
Commotio cordis can occur when severe trauma to the chest disrupts the heart’s electrical charge and causes dangerous fibrillations.
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