LSU Tigers’ Shareef O’Neal Reveals His Journey of Overcoming Heart Problems From the Age of Five

Published 03/13/2021, 3:45 PM EST


Many basketball players have had their careers cut short due to heart problems. A few NBA players have also lost their lives because of such problems. LSU Tigers’ Shareef O’Neal, son of Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, has also been battling it for years.

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During a recent interview on the Tamron Hall show, Shareef and his mother, Shaunie O’Neal, spoke about his journey so far. Shareef was five when they first found out about his heart problems. Shaunie revealed that the doctors said a heart ablation was enough, but his parents were still concerned. They took him to a cardiologist regularly and kept a check.

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But she also questioned whether that first procedure was the right one, and possibly could have been the reason for further development of issues. She revealed how Shareef brushed it off as fatigue and nobody mentioned anything else.

Shareef O’Neal got surgery because he wanted to continue to play

Later Shareef spoke about how once he felt something in his chest during a practice. This was the same feeling he got when he was younger and it happened a few times over the years. But this time, it was different. Within days of this complaint, doctors found out he had a right anomalous coronary artery that needed surgery.

He had to choose between an open heart surgery or forfeit his basketball career. His mother was devastated upon hearing this. She also spoke about how she was close to depression. But the surgery was successful and Shareef not only relearned how to walk, but is playing his best basketball as well.

 

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Can O’Neal have a comeback season with the LSU Tigers next year?

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It is now two and half years since his surgery, and O’Neal says his health is only getting better. Unfortunately for him, he hasn’t been able to do his best for the Tigers. A lot was expected after his transfer, but he has had limited opportunities. He played just 10 games off the bench and what makes it worse is that he is now ruled out for the season with a foot injury.

He will hope for a healthier season next year and will aim to make the most of his chances as he aims to follow in his father, Shaq’s footsteps, and reach the NBA.

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Aaron Mathew

1551 articles

Aaron Mathew is a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Mass Media from Xavier’s College, Aaron has been a part of EssentiallySports since May 2020 where he covers both NBA and NCAA basketball news, and has also covered NBA 2K. In the past, Aaron has worked at the Sports Desk of Mumbai Mirror.

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