After receiving messages from young athletes around the world about their own heart issues, Shaquille O'Neal's son Shareef vows to help younger athletes get tested for such heart problems when he gets older.
Shareef O'Neal was an up-and-coming UCLA star when he had to quit basketball for a year to get heart surgery.
Now that he's recovered, he is getting messages from young athletes around the world who are experiencing the same or similar symptoms as him.
Because of this, he vowed to help raise awareness about the importance of getting checked before playing sports, saying that he will create ways to make this possible when he is older.
"When I get older I’m going to do a lot with heart research and find ways to create a system for HS and college athletes to get their hearts checked before participating in sports, I’ve gotten a lot of messages from young athletes who are dealing with heart issues and it’s sad"
When a fan asked why he needs to wait until he's older, he corrected himself saying that he and his dad Shaq are working on ways to start now, so that they can already begin saving lives. However, both of them have been busy, especially since Shareef is back playing with UCLA.
Back in September 2018, doctors discovered that Shareef O'Neal had a heart defect that needed immediate surgery. After getting surgery in December 2018, he missed an entire season with UCLA as he recovered.
At the time, he had to learn how to walk again, among many other things that he needed to do as he was a "new kid," as he would put it.
Now, over a year since the life-changing surgery, O'Neal hopes to ensure that young athletes from around the world need not wait until something happens to them so that they can check and see how high school and college players can get tested before participating in sports.
With his father on his side, no doubt Shareef will be able to get some real work done and make some actual change in the lives of others, especially since he is passionate about the cause.
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