Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Diagnosis of a heart condition ends Toledo freshman?s career

Seldom has the discovery of a career-ending ailment been better news than in the case of Toledo's Justin Moss.

Oh sure, it's definitely sad that the 6-foot-6 incoming freshman apparently will never play basketball again because doctors diagnosed him with a congenital heart condition known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Nonetheless, that's a far better outcome than if the condition had gone undiscovered and abruptly claimed Moss' life the way it did former Loyola Marymount star Hank Gathers, Boston Celtics great Reggie Lewis or countless other athletes.

The Toledo Blade reported Friday that doctors began to suspect Moss may have the heart condition after he failed a routine physical in late June. Moss flew to Boston to meet with HCM expert Dr. Martin Maron, who diagnosed him with the disease and advised that he never play sports competitively again.

"I'm deeply saddened for Justin and his family that he has to give up his love and passion, but at the same time, I'm relieved and excited that Justin can live a happy, normal and healthy life," Toledo coach Ted Kowalczyk said in a release issued by the school.

"As I told Justin's mother, I look at this as good news because our tremendous sports medicine staff caught this disease in time, and Justin is no longer going to put himself in danger."

What makes HCM the leading cause of death among young athletes is that it's symptoms can be difficult to detect. It causes the heart muscles to thicken and makes it harder for the heart to pump, which doesn't prevent those who have it from performing normal everyday activities but does make competitive sports potentially dangerous.

The loss of Moss is a blow to a beleaguered Toledo basketball program that has won a mere eight total games the past two seasons combined. Moss was one of the jewels of a recruiting class expected to lead the rebuilding efforts, but Toledo will gladly sacrifice his on-court production to know he'll hopefully lead a long and happy life.


Rafael Soriano Matt Thornton Jose Valverde Justin Verlander

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