According to a story from MSN, basketball player LaMarcus Aldridge of the Brooklyn Trail Blazers has made the fateful decision to retire due to concerns about an irregular heartbeat he experienced during a recent game against the LA Lakers. LaMarcus was diagnosed with a condition called Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, which can cause a rapid heartbeat and others symptoms. The condition also creates a small risk of sudden death.
About Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome (WPW)
Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome (WPW) is a disorder that affects the heart’s electrical system, leading to abnormal function. About 40 percent of people never experience symptoms, and the true prevalence of the condition is unknown as a result. Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome is associated with Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy, a form of mitochondrial disease. In most cases, the precise cause of the syndrome is unknown in most instances, but it is believed to have a genetic component. In some cases a mutation impacting the PRKAG2 gene, which is inherited, is the culprit. Symptoms of this syndrome, when present, can include shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, fainting, palpitations, and dizziness. Severe disturbances of the heart rhythm can lead to sudden death, though this risk is low. Treatments may include cardioversion (using electricity to stabilize heart rhythm), certain medications, and catheter ablation, which can effectively cure the condition in most cases if successful. To learn more about Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, click here.
A Career Worth Celebrating
LaMarcus noticed that the irregular heartbeat seemed to get more severe as the game continued. The year of his diagnosis, he underwent treatment for his condition which caused him to miss the last nine games of that season. He was treated again in 2011. Standing at an impressive 6’11”, LaMarcus gained a reputation as one of the most effective players of his generation when shooting from mid-range, and his high release made these shots very difficult to block.
His career spanned a total of 15 years and included stints at Portland and San Antonio. During that time, his teams made the playoffs nine times.
“You never know when something will come to an end, so make sure you enjoy it every day. I can truly say I did just that.” – LaMarcus Aldridge