Florida Gators men’s basketball player Keyontae Johnson collapsed on the court during a game against Florida State this past Saturday as he and his teammates walked back onto the court after a timeout. Johnson had scored five points, and just before the timeout, he had finished an alley-oop. Johnson was immediately rushed to a Tallahassee hospital; the school announced Sunday morning that Johnson “remained in critical but stable condition.”
There has been no official diagnosis on what caused Johnson’s on-court collapse, although his grandfather Larry DeJarnett spoke with USA Today earlier on Monday and provided a few more details. Johnson has been transferred to UF Health in Gainesville and was put into a medically induced coma. “He may have had activity in the brain,” he said. “So they induced the coma. They put him on medication to keep him sedated.”
DeJarnett told the paper he wasn’t sure whether Johnson was one of the Florida players who tested positive for the coronavirus over the summer, when several other Gators players caught the disease, though several news outlets are now reporting that he did. When the school announced COVID-19 test results this summer, they never specified which athletes tested positive, so it’s not clear when exactly Johnson had it.
SEC COVID-19 guidelines specify that players returning from an infection must undergo a thorough cardiac evaluation before returning to competition, including a “troponin level [blood test], electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, and a medical evaluation by a physician.” Abnormally high levels of troponin, a cardiac protein, have been linked to more serious COVID complications, per a recent study.
However, it’s still unclear as to why Johnson collapsed, or if his previous infection contributed to it at all. Right now it’s not possible to know whether there was even an indirect connection between his COVID-19 case and what happened to him months later. DeJarnett told USA Today that doctors plan to bring Johnson out of the coma at some point on “Monday afternoon.” At 4:40 p.m. ET the school said that Johnson “is following simple commands and undergoing further tests,” though that update doesn’t provide much on his actual condition.