You're not hurt, not sore, not visibly in pain.
But your career is over.
That's the reality for incoming Toledo freshman Justin Moss, who was recently diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. That essentially means his heart is heavier than a normal person's, and he's at risk of sudden cardiac failure, should he engage in high-level cardiovascular activities.
We've seen way too many athletes unexpectedly, unknowingly die from this. It's tragic precisely because of that -- the diagnosis that was never made. Praise to the doctors who identified Moss' problem early enough and prevented another possible tragedy on the court. The Toledo Blade has more:
"It is with mixed emotions that we are announcing that Justin Moss can no longer play competitive basketball," UT coach Tod Kowalczyk said Thursday. "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."
Moss failed a routine physical at the end of June, and UT medical personnel had a suspicion he may have the potentially deadly heart condition known as HCM.
Moss, accompanied by UT assistant athletic director for sports medicine Brian Jones, flew to Boston to meet with Dr. Martin Maron, a leading expert in HCM who diagnosed Moss with the disease and recommended he never play competitive sports again.
It's such a tough decision to make, again, because of the lack of real pain or prohibitive measures within one's body. But it's necessary. We've blogged about this before, if you'd like more background on why this is a concern within all of college sports. It's necessary that all programs give physicals and check heart conditions of their athletes -- every year. The mortality rates for college athletes, in terms of heart-related afflictions, has risen in recent years.
The lesser of the unfortunates here is that Moss was expected to be an impact player for the Rockets this season. Toledo won a combined eight games the past two seasons and hasn't been above .500 in five. The Rockets now have just nine scholarship players for 2011-12 due to lopped off scholarships after the program had sub-par Academic Progress Rate scores.