Florida basketball player Keyontae Johnson said he is blessed to be alive after collapsing on the court on Dec. 12 during an away game at Florida State.
In his first interview since that game, Johnson sat down with FloridaGators.com.
“I would say I’m blessed to be here, yes,” he said.
Johnson said if it weren’t for a cardiologist sitting courtside during the game in Tallahassee, things may be different.
“I was passed out. I could have died,” the junior forward said. “[The cardiologist] jumped out on the court and saved me. If it isn’t for her, I may not have had a second chance in life. You just can’t take life for granted.”
Johnson was first hospitalized in Tallahassee and later transferred to Gainesville. He eventually regained consciousness after being placed in a medically induced coma.
On Tuesday, he told FloridaGators.com’s Chris Harry that his first memory after the collapse was waking 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.”
He said the next time he woke up, his coaches were there and he FaceTimed his teammates later that day.
Doctors eventually determined the collapse was not related to him contracting COVID-19 — he had previously tested positive.
Johnson said he hopes to be back on the court soon.
“Hopefully this summer,” he 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.”
Johnson said it was important for him to stay mentally engaged with the team, and providing scout reports was a means for him to learn and study guys while not playing.
“When I was in the hospital I asked the coaches, ‘What can I do to help the team?’ One of them asked if I wanted to help coach with the scouts and stuff. I thought that was the best idea,” he said. “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.”