Shareef O'Neal Returns to the UCLA Basketball Court Following Heart Surgery
Four months after Shaquille and Shaunie O’Neal’s son, Shareef, underwent heart surgery, the teen basketball star is back on the court and looks ready to play.
Fans were worried for Shareef last year when he revealed he’ll be having surgery for a “serious heart issue” and missing out on his freshman year with the UCLA Bruins, but all that is in the past now.
THE GOOD NEWS
The budding athlete took to social media a few days ago, announcing his comeback with a picture of himself throwing on the basketball court.
“Never fold never bend,” Shareef captioned the image.
The announcement has since garnered positive comments from well-wishers who are happy to see the young man’s health restored.
“Happy for u man.....glad u came back and you're back strong” ~@midee_olams
“Can’t wait to see you kill it out there bro!” ~@k.dale23
“Looking forward to you killing it next year” ~@jonathan_bmw_fan
THE SAD NEWS
Shareef revealed in September that he was going to have surgery after UCLA doctors discovered the heart condition that could have turned fatal had he continued to play.
“I am very blessed to be here living today, one of those moments on the court could’ve been my last breathe,” Shareef wrote in a lengthy Instagram post. “I will not be able to participate in sports this year, but I will be back in no time. I want to thank God for looking out for me."
A MOTHER'S PAIN
The Power Forward, whose father is considered as one of the greatest NBA players of all time, went under the knife on December 13. Overwhelmed with emotion as any mother would, Shaunie asked fans to pray for her son before he was wheeled in for the operation.
The “Basketball Wives” star put up a picture of Shareef on the hospital bed and confessed:
“This morning was by far my toughest moment being a Mom. If only I could take his place today. Could I at least go with him in that operating room and hold his hand. Separating from him as he was wheeled off to surgery was heartbreaking.”
Shaunie ended her caption with the hashtag “Pray for [Shareef].”
MAKING THE MOST OF THE SITUATION
The UCLA star’s experience also birthed one of Shaquille’s recent projects, an initiative set up to promote cardiac health awareness and the importance of early detection in the black community.
Now that Shareef is back to the court, he has seven months to get back to optimum health before joining the Bruins for their 2019/2020 season.
According to Bleacher Report, the team could use Shareef on the court as their last season outing got off to a sluggish start and they eventually missed the NCAA Tournament.
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