Florida star Keyontae Johnson critical but stable after collapsing during game

Florida star Keyontae Johnson critical but stable after collapsing during game

Florida standout forward Keyontae Johnson collapsed coming out of a timeout during Saturday’s game against rival Florida State and needed emergency medical attention. Johnson was taken off the floor on a stretcher and rushed to Tallahassee Memorial for evaluation.

The Gators said he is in critical but stable condition at the hospital.

Johnson had just dunked before he fell to the floor as the team broke the huddle. Several Gators were in tears and a couple buried their faces in towels as coach Mike White gathered his team to say a prayer.

The game continued a few minutes later, but the Gators were clearly affected by the scary scene of seeing one of their teammates in the midst of a medical emergency.

Florida were ahead 11-3 after Johnson’s dunk, but Florida State then scored the next seven points, and led 45-35 at halftime, outscoring the Gators 42-24 after Johnson’s collapse. The game ended in a 83-71 win for Florida State.

“Please keep praying for ⁦‪@Keyontae‬⁩ and his family. We all love him,” White posted on Twitter after the game.

Johnson, from Norfolk, Virginia, averaged a team-high 14 points last season to go along with 7.1 rebounds. He also led the Gators with 38 steals.

Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said Florida had been given the option of stopping the game but Johnson’s teammates wanted to continue. “Whatever they thought was in the best interest of their team, then I would accept it,” Hamilton said. “My administration asked me, and I told them we would be OK with whatever they decided. It was my understanding that they wanted to play.”

Like most of his teammates, Johnson tested positive for Covid-19 during the summer. Although the cause of Johnson’s ailment was not immediately known, the coronavirus can lead to myocarditis, a viral infection of the heart muscle. At its most severe, myocarditis can lead to sudden cardiac arrest and has been a documented cause of death for young, otherwise healthy athletes.

The Southeastern Conference mandates strict protocols, including rigorous heart testing, before players can be cleared to return to play following positive Covid-19 tests.