Keyontae Johnson updates: Florida star speaking, breathing on his own, sitting up after collapsing

By Adam Silverstein
December 15, 2020
Keyontae Johnson updates: Florida star speaking, breathing on his own, sitting up after collapsing

Image Credit: GatorsMBK / Twitter

Florida Gators junior forward Keyontae Johnson remains in stable condition, breathing on his own and speaking for the second straight day after collapsing during a college basketball game. Gators athletic director Scott Stricklin updated Johnson’s status Wednesday after his parents shared some information with the public through the athletic program on Tuesday. Johnson has been hospitalized since Saturday morning after he passed out on the court four minutes into a game against Florida State in Tallahassee, Florida.

“The information we’ve been getting about Keyontae has been really, really positive in the last 48 hours,” Stricklin said on WRUF AM. “… I had a chance to see him. He was actually sitting up in a chair. You can tell he’s been sedated, so he’s still a little groggy, but … it was just good to see him sitting up. He had family in there, parents and others. I’m told today that he’s even progressed a lot since then. He’s having good conversations with his doctors, with his coaches. He’s smiling and laughing.

“Still undergoing more tests. I think the tests they’ve gotten back so far have been positive from a medical standpoint. His prognosis seems to be trending in the right direction, but we still have a lot of questions — the medical folks have a lot of questions they want to make sure they get answered.”

Nika and Marrecus Johnson, Keyontae’s parents, shared their appreciation in an update on their son’s status Tuesday. “We feel so much love and support from everyone, and we’re beyond grateful for the care and attention that Keyontae has received throughout this past several days,” they said noting that their son even got an opportunity to FaceTime with his Gators teammates.

Keyontae Johnson was awoken from medically induced coma on Monday and said to have been following simple commands. He was transferred to UF Health in Gainesville that day after spending two days at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital where he was listed as in critical but stable condition.

Stricklin said Wednesday that the “whole FSU community was really special” taking care of Johnson from the medical personnel on down. Florida State school president John Thrasher even stopped by the hospital to check on him.

No specifics have been provided as to what caused Johnson’s medical incident, though his parents promised to “continue to share updates about Keyontae’s health and progress,” saying they appreciate “how much people love and care for him.”

On Tuesday, Florida announced that it has postponed Wednesday’s game with North Florida as the program continues to recover mentally and emotionally from Johnson’s incident. Sources told Monday that Saturday’s game was in doubt, though if Johnson’s condition continues to improve, perhaps the Gators will feel well enough to play. Stricklin said that a decision will be made by Thursday.

Johnson, the SEC Preseason Player of the Year, completed an alley-oop dunk ahead of a media timeout during the Florida State game. According to the Gators radio broadcast, Johnson was walking to the top of the arc after breaking the huddle when he fell face-first and laid unconscious on the court.

Footage played by ESPN later Saturday during a college football broadcast showed Johnson’s eyes open on the court but closed on the stretcher. He had a bloody scrape on the right side of his chin, presumably from falling on the hardwood.

Play was delayed for a few minutes while the Gators huddled with many players crying. Head coach Mike White led the team in a prayer, and it appears to have been a team decision to continue playing. White and the team’s head athletic trainer remained in Tallahassee through the weekend.

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