After Bronny James’ cardiac arrest, what would his return to play look like? Here are


It’s rare that athletes who suffer from cardiac arrest survive and return to playing. Bronny James may have the chance to do just that.

Bronny, the son of LeBron James and an incoming freshman at USC had his heart stop at a basketball practice on Tuesday. After going unconscious, he was rushed to Cedars Sinai hospital in Los Angeles and has since been discharged. Now, his road to recovery begins.

Cardiac arrest in young athletes is not new; nor is it believed to be something brought about because of the COVID vaccine. Even prior to the pandemic, cardiac arrest was the most common cause of death in young athletes – with estimates saying about 1 in 40,000 to 1 in 80,000 youth athletes suffer from sudden cardiac death each year.

But Bronny James is not one of those deaths. Rather, thanks to quick actions from USC staff, he is alive and may look to make a return to the court. In doing so, he’d be following in the footsteps of a select few athletes who have ever done so.

DailyMail.com looks at who Bronny James could be following should he choose to come back and play the sport he loves once again.

Bronny James is on the 'road to recovery' following his cardiac arrest and release from hospital

Bronny James is on the ‘road to recovery’ following his cardiac arrest and release from hospital

The son of Lebron James (seen here entering the hospital) is recovering after the scare

The son of Lebron James (seen here entering the hospital) is recovering after the scare

But if James gets cleared to return to the court, what could he possibly expect in his recovery?

But if James gets cleared to return to the court, what could he possibly expect in his recovery?

Vincent Iwuchukwu 

This list begins in the same place that James suffered his cardiac arrest – and this only happened a year ago.

7-foot tall USC basketball player Vincent Iwuchukwu was practicing at the school’s Galen Center on July 1, 2022 after not sleeping well the night before. 

USC assistant coach, Eric Mobley – father of Cavaliers star Evan Mobley – noticed Iwuchukwu grabbed a rebound without the aggressiveness he normally does. Mobley noted the center didn’t look right and within seconds of sitting down, Iwuchukwu started convulsing and losing motor function. 

His heart was shocked back to life with a defibrillator and he was taken to a hospital for four days worth of testing and treatment. Upon release, Iwuchukwu was kept away from physical activity for three weeks.

After months of getting him back into playing shape, he made his debut with the Trojans – playing five minutes off the bench in a win over Colorado. He ended up finishing the season averaging 5.4 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 14 minutes a game.

Bronny James' teammate Vincent Iwuchukwu also suffered cardiac arrest just last year

Bronny James’ teammate Vincent Iwuchukwu also suffered cardiac arrest just last year

The 7-foot tall player sat down after exerting himself and began convulsing on the bench

The 7-foot tall player sat down after exerting himself and began convulsing on the bench

After medical tests and recovery, Iwuchukwu returned to the floor to play for the Trojans

After medical tests and recovery, Iwuchukwu returned to the floor to play for the Trojans

Chris Pronger

By far the most accomplished player on this list, Stanley Cup champion, two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and Hockey Hall-of-Famer Chris Pronger went down on the ice in 1998.

It was in the midst of the Stanley Cup playoffs that Pronger was hit in the chest with a puck against the Detroit Red Wings. His heart stopped beating due to commotio cordis – where blunt force disrupts the heart’s rhythm – and he collapsed onto the ice.

But miraculously, Pronger’s heart started beating again on its own – meaning the defenseman did not require CPR or defibrillation.

After receiving further treatment, Pronger returned to the ice for the next game of the series just two days later.

Pronger would go on to play another 13 seasons in the NHL. In that time, he would be named to six All-Star teams and would win the Hart Trophy as MVP of the league as well as the Norris Trophy for best defenseman – both in the year 2000. In 2007, he would win the Stanley Cup as a member of the Anaheim Ducks.

Hockey Hall-of-Famer Chris Pronger collapsed during a playoff game against Detroit in 1998

Hockey Hall-of-Famer Chris Pronger collapsed during a playoff game against Detroit in 1998

After taking a slap shot to the chest, Pronger fell to the ice - suffering commotio cordis. But his heart started beating again on its own and he was back playing two days later.

After taking a slap shot to the chest, Pronger fell to the ice – suffering commotio cordis. But his heart started beating again on its own and he was back playing two days later.

Pronger went on to have a Hall-of-Fame career and won the 2007 Stanley Cup in Anaheim

Pronger went on to have a Hall-of-Fame career and won the 2007 Stanley Cup in Anaheim

Keyontae Johnson

In December of 2020, Keyontae Johnson – a junior who played for the University of Florida Gators basketball team – was in the midst of a rivalry game against Florida State.

But early in the contest, he too collapsed on the court. Johnson was rushed to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital and placed in a medically induced coma for three days before returning to the UF campus in Gainesville.

He was diagnosed with Athlete’s Heart Syndrome, which is an increase in cardiac mass as a result of prolonged and systematic training. Doctors told him he might never play again.

Johnson did indeed get healthy enough to return – but did not return to a regular starting role. He transferred to Kansas State, where he was a key player for coach Jerome Tang as the Wildcats made an exciting run to the Elite Eight this season.

All that culminated in this year’s NBA Draft – where the Oklahoma City Thunder selected Johnson with the 50th overall pick in the second round. He was signed to a two-way contract on July 7.

Keyontae Johnson collapsed in 2020 at Florida State & was put in a medically induced coma

Keyontae Johnson collapsed in 2020 at Florida State & was put in a medically induced coma

Johnson scored five points in four minutes before falling to the floor vs. Florida State in 2020

Johnson scored five points in four minutes before falling to the floor vs. Florida State in 2020

Johnson recovered and then transferred to Kansas State to continue playing basketball

Johnson recovered and then transferred to Kansas State to continue playing basketball

Earlier this year, he was selected 50th overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA Draft

Earlier this year, he was selected 50th overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA Draft

Christian Eriksen

On one of the biggest stages in world football, in his home nation, Denmark’s star player Christian Eriksen went down – triggering a national nightmare.

It was during a UEFA Euro 2020 match against Finland in Copenhagen just before halftime when the star midfielder fell to the ground due to sudden cardiac arrest. His teammates screamed for medical staff to help him as Eriksen’s heart had stopped for five minutes.

Upon arrival, medics performed CPR and used an AED on the field before he was eventually taken off on a stretcher. About an hour after the incident happened, the Danish Football Association said that he had stabilized and was awake in the hospital. 

The game was then forced to resume, resulting in a Danish victory. Eriksen eventually received an implanted cardioverter-defibrillator to regulate his heartbeat and prevent further attacks. 

Eriksen returned to full health, but wasn’t allowed to play for his then-club Inter Milan due to Serie A rules preventing him because of the device implanted in his heart. He then moved to Brentford in January 2022 before signing a three-year deal with Manchester United that July

Danish star midfielder Christian Eriksen had a scary collapse during the 2021 Euros

Danish star midfielder Christian Eriksen had a scary collapse during the 2021 Euros

As he was set to receive a throw in, he collapsed on the pitch and needed defibrillation

As he was set to receive a throw in, he collapsed on the pitch and needed defibrillation

Eriksen got an implant, recovered, and has gone on to play at Brentford & Manchester United

Eriksen got an implant, recovered, and has gone on to play at Brentford & Manchester United

Damar Hamlin

Finally, a return to the field that has not happened yet – but is in progress.

On January 2, 2023 – in a highly anticipated Monday Night Football game between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals – Bills safety Damar Hamlin made a tackle on Bengals receiver Tee Higgins.

Hamlin took blunt trauma to the chest during the tackle – leading to commotio cordis and the stopping of his heart. First responders rushed to the field, initiating CPR and defibrillation before rushing him to the hospital. 

While in the hospital, Hamlin was sedated for a number of days – but his heartbeat was restored on the field. Three days after being admitted, he was awake. By the next day, he was breathing on his own. 

After a week’s worth of tests and monitoring by doctors in Cincinnati, Hamlin was discharged and flown to Buffalo General Medical Center. There, he underwent more tests before being fully discharged.

Hamlin was medically cleared to return to the NFL in April of 2023. He continues to train with his team in preparation for the upcoming season.

Damar Hamlin's return to the field after a frightening cardiac arrest is an ongoing process

Damar Hamlin’s return to the field after a frightening cardiac arrest is an ongoing process

It was on this tackle that Hamlin suffered commotio cordis and began fighting for his life

It was on this tackle that Hamlin suffered commotio cordis and began fighting for his life

He's since been cleared and is now getting ready to return to playing football full time

He’s since been cleared and is now getting ready to return to playing football full time



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