In May 2020, a doctor told me I would never play basketball again. He misdiagnosed me with Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy (ARVC). ARVC weakens the muscular walls of the heart. Anything that elevated my heart could prove dangerous. Though not fatal, it was a death sentence to my basketball career.
This news destroyed me. I’d devoted my life to the sport. My driving belief, my mantra, is to optimize my time so that I can realize my maximal potential as an athlete. Yet, my diagnosis robbed me of that potential. After licking my wounds, and to pass time productively, I found a way to stay connected to basketball. I mentored and coached my teenage cousin to help him achieve his basketball goals. I showed him every workout I knew and modeled how I thought a committed athlete would behave. I stressed to him how essential it is to be coachable and to show respect to others on and off the court. He's learned at 13 what I've only now begun to understand: each second of poise on the court springs from a thousand hours of training. I yearned to show him that if I have a setback, that it can't prevent me from contributing to the sport.
During this time of conflict and growth, my parents sought a second medical opinion. Further testing proved I was misdiagnosed. The minute I heard the news I rushed to the gym. Fate had given basketball back to me. Yet losing the sport empowered me to live up to my potential, and help others do the same. My athleticism comes more from skill than talent. I've worked to refine my skills and body to become stronger, faster, and sharper. My parents expected a great deal of me academically. Because of their standards, I was able to channel my athletic drive into my academics. This allowed me to score a 32 on the ACT and maintain a 3.4 GPA. I want to play collegiate basketball while earning an education I can be proud of. After earning my bachelor's, I want to experience playing professionally. Yet, the whole point of my degree is to allow me to have a life after and outside of basketball. Wherever I end up doing, on or off the court, I will help others optimize their time and mine, so that, together, we can realize our unique potential.