Shaquille O'neal's Son Vows to Help Younger Athletes Test for Heart Issues When He Gets Older

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. 

Shaquille and Shareef O'Neal sit courtside at an NBA game | Source: Getty Images/GlobalImagesUkraine

Shaquille and Shareef O'Neal sit courtside at an NBA game | Source: Getty Images/GlobalImagesUkraine

SHAREEF O'NEAL'S PROMISE

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.

SHAREEF O'NEAL'S STRUGGLE WITH HEART DEFECT

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. 

ON THE ROAD TO RECOVERY

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. 

View this post on Instagram

Its 12 where I’m at so I’m gonna post this... One year has passed by since my heart surgery ... a year ago today i was scared for my life ..a year ago today I was learning how to walk again . A year ago today I was turned into a new kid . A year ago today my life changed .. I thought I was going through hell while dealing with this process but then i realized it was a blessing that it was found. I am very grateful for my health today and I will always be. I also want to thank everyone who stuck with me through this and uplifted me as I was down. I want to thank my family and friends for everything they did also .. this year has been a big struggle and I’m still finding my way back into things.. love ❤️ 1 year healthy.. 261 days since cleared to start training again.. the comeback still coming

A post shared by Shareef O'Neal (@shareefoneal) on

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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