Rare genetic disorder that ended college star’s pro hoops career hopes shines light on Marfan syndrome

Four days before Baylor University basketball star Isaiah Austin hoped to be drafted into the NBA, his dreams of playing in the pros were extinguished by a rare genetic disease called Marfan syndrome.

“I had a dream that my name was going to be called,” Austin told ESPN. But after a standard physical, test results revealed he had Marfan syndrome. “They said I wouldn’t be able to play basketball no more, at a competitive level. … They told me my arteries and my heart are enlarged, and that if I overwork myself or push myself, my heart could rupture.”

Marfan syndrome is caused by a genetic mutation that leaves connective tissue in the body weak, according to the National Institutes of Health. The defective gene can also cause excessive growth of longer bones in the body, although it’s not clear why this happens.

People with Marfan syndrome are usually very tall and thin. They often have longer than usual arms, legs, fingers and toes, according to the NIH. Austin, at 7-foot-1, matches this description.

Read the full, original story: What is Marfan syndrome?

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