Only a few days away from realizing a life long dream, Isaiah Austin received what some would consider devastating news.
Austin, who had been one of the country’s blue chip high-school basketball prospects for quite some time. Moreover, a standout at Baylor University for two years before declaring for the most recent NBA draft. Unfortunately, those aspirations were disposed due to Isaiah Austin’s diagnosis of Marfan syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that weakens the body’s connective tissue.
Faced with the toughest decision in his 20 year old life, Austin was all but forced to either give up the game he loved most, or risk his life. Austin however, is familiar with adversity, the young man lost complete vision in his right eye after getting hit with a baseball as a teenager. Despite the odds, Austin overcame to become one of the nation’s best NBA prospects.
On the night of the 2014 NBA draft, when 60 men and their families celebrated a life changing accomplishment, one young man stood above (literally, Austin is 7’1). The NBA took a special opportunity to “Draft” Austin and allow a young man to fulfill the lifelong dream of getting his name called by the NBA commissioner. A lifelong dream and story that will not end with a sad song.
Austin plans to continue to spread awareness of Marfan syndrome and share his story while pursuing his degree as a part of the Baylor basketball staff. The NBA has also offered Austin an opportunity for employment upon the completion of his degree and through it all Austin remains optimistic. We can all take a page from Isaiah’s book, seeing opportunity in every difficulty and not the other way around.