Florida basketball player Keyontae Johnson said he "feels blessed" to be alive after collapsing on the court on Dec. 12 during his team's game against Florida State.
Johnson was hospitalized in Tallahassee before being transferred to Gainesville, where he eventually regained consciousness after being placed in a medically induced coma.
"I would say I'm blessed to be here, yes. There's just not a lot more to say than that," Johnson told floridagators.com in his first interview since the incident. "I was passed out. I could have died. … You just can't take life for granted."
His first memory after his collapse was when he woke up in the hospital.
"When I woke up, I thought I was dreaming when I saw my mom in front of me," Johnson said. "I remember the [doctor] calling my name. She was asking me questions to see if I'd respond. I was still really drowsy, but I could kind of open my eyes. My mom was standing right beside her."
Florida's Keyontae Johnson entered this season as one of the top players in the country, being named the SEC Preseason Player of the Year. (Photo: Calvin Mattheis, USA TODAY Sports)
Doctors eventually determined the collapse was not related to him contracting COVID-19. It has not been decided whether Johnson will be able to resume his basketball career. There's been no timetable given about a possible return.
"Hopefully this summer," Johnson said. "But I'm still taking tests and going to be taking a lot more tests. I'll have to get on a treadmill eventually and be connected to things. MRIs, EKGs, stress tests, all that, to find out what caused this. I'm going to the doctor every two weeks."
While awaiting word on his playing future, Johnson has been helping the Gators by providing scouting reports.
"When I was in the hospital I asked the coaches, 'What can I do to help the team?' " Johnson said. "One of them asked if I wanted to help coach with the scouts and stuff? I thought that was the best idea. … In the past, we'd had some guys, some instances, where players got hurt and mentally kind of went away. Got disengaged. I wanted to learn from that and stay engaged."
Follow colleges reporter Erick Smith on Twitter @ErickSmith
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