Cal’s Rogers won’t play basketball because of rare heart condition

By Janie Mccauley, AP
Thursday, October 1, 2009

Cal’s Rogers diagnosed with heart condition

BERKELEY, Calif. — Highly touted California freshman forward Tierra Rogers will not play for the Golden Bears after being diagnosed this week with a rare heart condition and having a defibrillator implanted Thursday.

The school made the announcement Thursday night.

“I am saddened that I was diagnosed with this disease,” Rogers said in a statement. “But I feel God has given me a second chance at life. With the support of my family, coaching staff and teammates, I will be able to get through this.”

Cal said Rogers’ condition was discovered as the result of a Sept. 21 workout in which she had trouble breathing and later collapsed at Haas Pavilion outside the training room. She was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital, where she spent a week for testing and observation. Once doctors determined she had a cardiac condition, she was then transferred to UC San Francisco Medical Center on Monday. It was there where doctors discovered her condition — Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia — and performed the procedure.

She is likely to remain hospitalized for a few more days.

Rogers was a high school All-American whose father was shot to death at halftime of one of her games across the street from the Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep gym in San Francisco on Jan. 12, 2008. She considered giving up basketball after the tragedy.

Rogers led her high school team to state titles from 2006-08, including perfect 32-0 seasons in 2007 and ‘08. She lost only three games in her entire four-year high school career.

“This is obviously devastating news for Tierra and her family,” Cal coach Joanne Boyle said in a statement. “We are here to stand by her 100 percent with whatever she needs. Obviously, basketball was a very precious part of her life, but she has a higher purpose here than just being a basketball player, and her health and well-being are our primary concern. Right now, she can really use all the support and prayers she can get to help her through these trying times.”

The Golden Bears reached their first regional semifinals of the NCAA tournament in March, hanging tough with eventual unbeaten champion Connecticut before losing 77-53.

Rogers was supposed to be part of helping continue that momentum for the program, which lost several key players from last season’s NCAA run.

The school said that Dr. Brad Buchman, medical director of University Health Services at Cal and interim head team physician for the athletic department, provided information about the rare condition and that “it is one of the most common causes of sudden cardiac death in young adult athletes.”

According to Buchman, it can cause altered muscle function and abnormal electrical rhythms in the wall of the right ventricle that can often produce palpitations, fainting, chest pain and shortness of breath. In some patients, sudden cardiac death is the initial presentation of the disease, he said.

It can also produce worsening heart function over time, thus the risks with rigorous physical activity like basketball and the training involved.

A call to Boyle wasn’t immediately returned.

will not be displayed