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Sports Doctor Gives Prognosis on Bronny James' Future After Cardiac Arrest

Dr. Brian Sutterer: “Big picture here, thankfully they were able to legitimately save Bronny’s life. When somebody goes into cardiac arrest you need to intervene to save their life. Kudos to the medical staff that was there, I’m sure if this was an official USC practice they would have had athletic trainers on site. They would have had first responders who presumably were able to administer CPR and legitimately save Bronny’s life. Now the next stage comes-- what exactly happened because it’s not safe to let an athlete go back out and participate in sports after cardiac arrest, especially if you don’t know yet what happened. To evaluate what happened they’re going to look for 1) was this something congenital or was this something acquired. They’ll consider things like myocarditis, they’ll then look at all of the congenital conditions. They'll look at the structural congenital conditions by doing things like echo-cardiograms, cardiac MRIs, maybe even a CT scan, and they’ll look at the electrically causes of cardiac arrest by doing things like EKGs to monitor the electrical activity of the heart, stress tests where they put him on a treadmill, they exert him, and they watch and see if arrhythmias are introduced in the heart function. That will be how they determine what exactly caused the cardiac arrest. In a way, you almost hope that you discover a cause because often times if there’s a cause there’s a way to at least manage it. There are some causes of cardiac arrest that you find the exact cause and it still isn't necessarily safe to return to sports because the risk is so high of having another cardiac arrest and potentially dying. Some of these conditions like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or the anomalous coronary arteries like we saw Shareef O’Neal have can be treated or repaired the best you can with surgical intervention, but obviously that’s going to put Bronny out of playing for a really long time. It’s hard to look at all this in perspective but honestly, when an athlete has cardiac arrest you kind of have to put their sports on the back burner because this is something that even outside of playing professional basketball, even just running around with his friends playing pickup and exercising on his own still makes him likely for having cardiac arrest again. You have to consider just intervening and discovering what happened so that somebody can have a safe and healthy life. The sport is sort of a secondary thing at this point. It has to be an afterthought once they try and hopefully find what exactly caused this. The challenge becomes into play if they don’t find an exact cause and you don’t really know what happened. You have to have that discussion of ‘what exactly are the risks?’ of going back out there and playing. Extremely serious situation we’re dealing with and legitimately something that could affect the rest of his career depending on what we discover, and depending on what they have to do about it.” (Full Segment Above) 

Watch Dr. Brian Sutterer discuss the news of Bronny James’ cardiac arrest on Monday, as he tries to explain what might have happened to the USC freshman and how a medical staff may go about evaluating the son of NBA star LeBron James.

Check out the segment above as Sutterer gives his outlook on what Bronny’s basketball future could entail.   

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