Florida basketball star Keyontae Johnson out for season with COVID-19 ruled out as cause of collapse

By Adam Silverstein
February 3, 2021
Florida basketball star Keyontae Johnson out for season with COVID-19 ruled out as cause of collapse

Image Credit: Alex de la Osa / UAA

Florida Gators junior forward Keyontae Johnson will not return to play this season after suddenly collapsing on the court Dec. 12 in Tallahassee, Florida. Johnson, who was hospitalized for 10 days and underwent a battery of tests to determine the cause of his medical emergency, has been with the Gators for the last few weeks as a coach on the sidelines during games.

“His resilience has been inspiring to watch,” Johnson’s family wrote in a statement released by Florida. “He will spend the rest of the season focused on being the best coach and teammate he can be. What comes next for Keyontae is for him to share on his own timeline and using his voice.”

The latter portion of that statement is a bit ominous as to Johnson’s future as a basketball player, but it appears as if he will share additional information about his condition and career goals at the appropriate time, presumably at the conclusion of the season.

Johnson’s family expressed gratitude for the support and medical care the family has received over the last two months, explaining that one key conclusion has been reached by doctors.

“University of Florida Health treating physicians consulted with other local and national experts who reviewed the relevant imaging and testing related to this case. The unanimous conclusion of all experts is that Keyontae’s medical emergency was not related to or a result of a previous or current Covid diagnosis.”

Johnson, the SEC Preseason Player of the Year, completed an alley-oop dunk ahead of a media timeout during the Florida State game on Dec. 12. He was walking to the top of the arc after breaking the huddle when he fell face-first and laid unconscious on the court. Johnson’s eyes were open on the court but closed on the stretcher as he left the floor. He had a bloody scrape on the right side of his chin, presumably from falling on the hardwood.

After spending two days in Tallahassee Memorial Hospital in critical but stable condition, he was transferred to UF Health where his status consistently improved until he was awoken from a medically induced coma and released days later.

The Gators canceled four games as the team focused on Johnson’s recovery. When play resumed on Dec. 30, Florida started shaky going just 3-3 in its first six games. It has since won four straight with two victories over top-11 teams, giving UF its first AP Top 25 ranking (No. 22) of the season.

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