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Should he play...OK near for Curry


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  • Should he play...OK near for Curry

    June 23, 2005 Thursday
    Chicago Final Edition


    LENGTH: 654 words

    HEADLINE: OK near for Curry;
    Cardiologist's diagnosis could clear Bull to start workouts

    BYLINE: By K.C. Johnson, Tribune staff reporter.


    Bulls center Eddy Curry could be cleared to resume physical activity as early
    as Thursday or Friday if team doctors accept the diagnosis of a prominent Los
    Angeles-based cardiologist.

    Dr. David Cannom, an expert on ventricular arrhythmias and chief of
    cardiology at Good Samaritan Hospital, has determined that Curry's enlarged
    heart isn't a life-threatening situation and is consistent with an athlete's
    heart, according to sources.

    "I'd rather not comment," Cannom said late Wednesday when reached by phone.
    "You'd need to talk to Dr. Cole."

    Attempts to reach Bulls physician Brian Cole were unsuccessful.

    Sources said Cannom's diagnosis is consistent with that of Dr. Mark Estes,
    another prominent cardiologist Curry saw in Boston shortly after experiencing an
    irregular heartbeat before a March 30 game in Charlotte.

    "I just feel relieved because I want to start working out again," Curry said
    Wednesday in a phone interview. "I miss playing basketball. I feel weird not

    Curry, 22, has been inactive since the Charlotte game, missing the final 13
    regular-season games and the playoffs.

    In between the diagnoses of Estes and Cannom, Curry saw Minneapolis-based
    cardiologist Barry Maron, one of the country's preeminent experts on
    hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

    The condition is a hot-button topic in the sports world because both Hank
    Gathers and Reggie Lewis had the condition when they collapsed and died playing

    Curry rested for six weeks between his two visits to Maron. This inactivity
    was suggested to see if Curry's enlarged heart would shrink, which could have
    signified that his arrhythmia was related to exercise and not structural

    When little change resulted, sources said Maron suggested more testing,
    including a DNA test that possibly could rule out cardiomyopathy in definitive
    fashion. Curry had resisted taking that test, creating a standoff.

    The limbo period ended shortly after Curry hired Philadelphia-based agent
    Leon Rose on June 2. Rose has a solid working relationship with Bulls general
    manager John Paxson, who applauded Rose's attempts to be proactive with Curry.

    A source said Cannom had been on the Bulls' original list of specialists. The
    cardiologist viewed pictures of Curry's heart and test results last week and has
    contacted team officials in the last couple days after first sharing his
    diagnosis with Rose.

    Sources said the Bulls are contemplating asking Cannom to fly to Chicago to
    meet with Curry, Paxson and team physicians in person.

    Paxson, however, is said to be buoyed by Cannom's diagnosis, which joins that
    of Estes in painting a positive picture of Curry's heart condition.

    What remained unclear is what becomes of the signs that gave pause to Maron,
    the Minneapolis-based cardiologist.

    It's possible, however, that with two prominent cardiologists reaching
    similar diagnoses, and Maron only wanting to rule out cardiomyopathy
    definitively--not issuing that diagnosis--that enough positive feedback is
    accumulating to alleviate concerns of liability.

    Curry, a restricted free agent, could command a salary in the six-year, $67
    million range under the guidelines of the new collective bargaining agreement if
    he re-signs with the Bulls.

    Other teams could offer Curry roughly five years and $52 million. Cleveland
    and Atlanta are two teams who reportedly will have interest in Curry once the
    free-agent recruiting period begins July 1.

    It remains to be seen how this medical situation will affect Curry's ability
    to get insurance on a long-term contract.

    But such details aren't the ones concerning Curry after this latest dose of
    optimistic news. Neither is the fact that he has gained roughly 10 pounds in
    close to three months of inactivity.

    "I'll get that off in two weeks tops," said Curry, who is to throw out the
    ceremonial first pitch at Saturday's Cubs-White Sox game. "I can't wait to get
    started working out again."

    Neither can the Bulls.

    [email protected]


    GRAPHIC: PHOTO (color): (Eddy) Curry.

    LOAD-DATE: June 23, 2005

  • #2
    Chicago Final Edition


    LENGTH: 533 words

    HEADLINE: Curry excited by Bulls' message;
    Vows to be in better shape than last year

    BYLINE: By K.C. Johnson, Tribune staff reporter.


    Eddy Curry will fly to Los Angeles Thursday to visit noted cardiologist David
    Cannom before becoming a restricted free agent at midnight Friday.

    Curry's Wednesday wasn't bad, either. He woke up to read that general manager
    John Paxson had said for the first time publicly the Bulls would clear Curry to
    resume physical activity once the meeting with Cannom is completed.

    "That's just great news to hear," Curry said by phone. "It's the ending I
    thought it would come to and the words I've been waiting to hear."

    Curry, 22, has been sidelined since March 30 after experiencing an irregular
    heartbeat before a game in Charlotte. Cannom determined last week that Curry's
    enlarged heart doesn't constitute a life-threatening situation and is a
    byproduct of exercise.

    Curry also visited heart specialists in Boston and Minneapolis, both of whom
    wanted to determine if the fourth-year center is genetically disposed to
    hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a potentially fatal condition.

    If the Bulls have remaining health concerns about Curry, look for them to
    materialize in the form of short-term or incentive-laden offers during the
    free-agent negotiating period, which begins Friday and lasts until July 22.

    Paxson has said his goal is to re-sign all of the Bulls' restricted free
    agents--Curry, Tyson Chandler, Chris Duhon and Jannero Pargo--and be fair and
    aggressive in doing so. That means rather than sitting back and seeing what the
    market dictates, Paxson will make offers beginning Friday.

    Because they're restricted free agents, the Bulls can match all offers for
    the four players. Paxson will wait to pursue other free agents until he knows
    what he has committed financially to his own players.

    Curry knows what outcome he desires.

    "I've said all along I want to stay in Chicago, and that's still the case,"
    he said. "Some people think playing in my hometown is tough or a distraction for
    me, but I've always looked at it as a positive.

    "Plus, this is the team I started out with and now we're building something.
    We have a great group of young players, the fans have always supported us and
    [coach Scott] Skiles will be around for the next four years. He has proved what
    he can do as a coach. I'm excited."

    Curry is eager to resume working out to shed the 10-15 pounds he has added in
    his three months of inactivity.

    "I want to show that last summer wasn't a fluke and I will," Curry said. "I
    was in the best shape of my career last season and I plan to be in even better
    shape next season."

    Atlanta and Cleveland reportedly will show interest in Curry. Paxson plans to
    be proactive with Curry, but how his health situation affects his market value
    will be interesting to monitor.

    The Bulls received more good news Wednesday when defensive-minded guard Eddie
    Basden from Charlotte committed to playing on their summer-league roster.
    Basden, who went undrafted, is one of the players in whom the Bulls were
    interested if they had acquired a second-round pick in Tuesday's draft.

    At 6 feet 5 inches, and with four years of college experience, Basden is
    considered tough and was the most valuable player in Conference USA.

    "He'll have a real chance of making our regular-season roster," Paxson said.

    [email protected]

    GRAPHIC: PHOTO: Eddie Basden, who was Conference USA's MVP, will play for the
    Bulls this summer. AP photo by Rick Havner.

    LOAD-DATE: June 30, 2005


    • #3
      Well, it seems to me that he is avoiding any possiblity of being diagnosed with HCM instead of finding out the truth, which is a shame, but considering the pressure he is probably under to play -from himself and/or others- I can understand it.

      Only time will tell. And if he would rather play for a short while than not play at all, then he may get his wish.



      • #4
        I’m not sure he is blatantly avoiding the possibility of being diagnosed with HCM, but rather making sure he can still sign a contract. If I were in that same situation, I’m sure I’d wait to be DNA tested until after getting paid too.


        • #5
          I think he's probably getting some very smart advice from someone. We tell folks here to hold off on testing, etc. until they get their business affairs in order since we all know what an HCM diagnosis does to our prospects of getting good insurance, etc. If I were that young basketball player I'd avoid genetic testing like the plague until I got everything straightened out.

          As for whether he should play or not, that's between him and whatever team he signs with. If they're all willing to accept the potential liability, then it's his life to live.

          "Some days you're the dog... some days you're the hydrant."


          • #6
            You're absolutly right it is his life. I think that it may be sending the wrong message though to others especially younger athelets who have HCM. The NBA is practically saying even if you've had a life threatening arrythmia as long as you get "some" doctor to ok you then you can play.

            I am no doctor but from the first report stated that his heart did not atrophy with 90 days of inactivity. If it were truly athlete's heart the muscle would have shrank. Oh, and how many people have actually used the genetic test to prove or disprove HCM. Not too many because the process is still in research. At this time there are at least nine genes associated with more presumed to be found.

            I'm sure though he already has all of his insurance matters in a row. Most athlete's do that before they ever step foot onto a court. You gotta have those precious legs insured in case you break a bone.

            In this instance I think most involved is putting life last and money first. That's the kind of lesson I would want my kid to learn from the NBA. Right?

            Won't be watching to much basketball now. Wasn't thrilled coding a teenager that went down unkowingly. Definatly don't want to watch it needlessly on TV. Besides our Magic team is more like Tragic sooo!

            Off my soap box!

            Mary S.


            • #7
              Just one point of clarification. This player has had his situation reviewed by the best doctors around the country. Dr. Maron seems to have reached an inconclusive diagnosis, and wants the genetic testing to rule out (or in) HCM. Other doctors, including David Cannom, who by the way, is my E.P. and is a world renowned doctor in his own right, have said that this player does not have clinical HCM. Apparently they haven't found him to have Long QT or some other such condition either (Cannom, BTW, is the Barry Maron of the Long QT world).

              If this guy can make millions playing a game he loves, and is willing to chance it, then who are we to criticize him. Maybe he doesn't feel his life is worth living without the sport. Maybe he needs the money to support his critically ill mother. Who knows? Its not our place to judge him. He is a big boy and can make his own decisions. The Bulls have brought in several very worthy doctors to examine the guy, and if not one of them can say its for sure not safe, then they are in the clear also.

              Its not the job of the NBA or the government or anyone else to tell us what we can or cannot do. This is America. It should be up to us.
              Daughter of Father with HCM
              Diagnosed with HCM 1999.
              Full term pregnancy - Son born 11/01
              ICD implanted 2/03; generator replaced 2/2005 and 2/2012
              Myectomy 8/11/06 - Joe Dearani - Mayo Clinic.


              • #8
                "Some days you're the dog... some days you're the hydrant."


                • #9
                  Amen again!


                  Amen again. It'd be nice to see what statistics have been gathered in recent years regarding HCM and sudden death in athletes. Even here at the HCMA, the "Reporting Sudden Deaths" lists plenty of people who died while being sedentary.



                  • #10
                    I'm not criticizing the man. It is his call, I agree. I just think that he might not be making the same choices if he weren't a basketball player with a contract in play.


                    • #11
                      We all have our own stories, and I'm sure that Mr. Curry has a story that goes along with his big NBA career. Yes, he may be sending the wrong message to young athletes on one end of the spectrum, but he is also sending a very strong message of "choice!" That is what our country is founded on and I hope that we continue to grant our citizens with free will to choose our own paths. He is making a choice that could cause a sudden cardiac arrest, but that is his choice.

                      One thing that I make clear to any person, athlete or parent that comes through my heart screenings, "you make the choice whether you play or not. That is a personal decision between you, your doctor and your family." Not all HCM gene mutations are life threatening.

                      I recently heard in a Mayo clinic HCM presentation that less than 20% of people with HCM have symptoms. Less than that have the gene mutation that causes sudden cardiac death in young athletes. So...are we really looking for a needle in the haystack at our heart screening events?? I don't believe so. I think we are building awareness, helping people get the right care, and saving some lives along the way.

                      I wish all the best for Mr. Curry and I hope he continues to make the choices with all the knowledge possible regarding his own body.

                      Blessings and Healthy Choices for everyone!


                      • #12
                        Amen to what Sharon said!

                        Informed choice is what is important.
                        Daughter of Father with HCM
                        Diagnosed with HCM 1999.
                        Full term pregnancy - Son born 11/01
                        ICD implanted 2/03; generator replaced 2/2005 and 2/2012
                        Myectomy 8/11/06 - Joe Dearani - Mayo Clinic.


                        • #13
                          Exactly! It is entirely his choice whether or not to play. I’m not sure it is fair to suggest that he is teaching our youth a poor lesson by accepting his clearance to play. From what I understand these are not just “some” doctors making a brash decision.

                          Also hasn’t it been suggested on this site to stock up on life insurance before getting tested for anything? Although it’s not apples to apples, doesn’t the same advice apply here? I still think it would be advantageous for Mr. Curry to sign a contract BEFORE getting tested.


                          • #14
                            Guess, that is what I should have done too. Cash in on a contract when Gainesville told me I had nothing wrong with me too! Should have accepted the EMT position gotten protection from the union. I mean it's my choice right! Who cares if I would have had a Cardiac arrest driving the rig. According to the Specialist I was OK, could do whatever I want!

                            OH but wait I had this thing called a conscience. I knew deep down there was something wrong. I could not take a position that would put me or others in risk. It would not have been fair to that organization to present something to them that I am not. Actually, it kinda seemed like it would be fraud to me. But, you know it's OK to tell a little white lie right?

                            Ever since my diagnosis I've been honest with my employers. I don't hide my heart condition they ask I say. What you see is what you get!

                            Guess, that is what makes ethics so interesting. Figuring out what to do when the lines blurr. But in the end its your decision and IT IS YOU that has to live or die with that decision.

                            At least we live in a country where we can make decisions no matter how wrong or right they are!

                            Mary S.


                            • #15

                              It's hardly the same thing. A basketball player is not putting another person at risk if something happens. If he has a loss of consciousness while playing the only one that might get hurt is him.

                              If you are a health care provider or ambulance driver and you lose consciousness, you could kill someone. That is a totally different situation. I think we all would have had a different response if Curry was a surgeon.
                              Daughter of Father with HCM
                              Diagnosed with HCM 1999.
                              Full term pregnancy - Son born 11/01
                              ICD implanted 2/03; generator replaced 2/2005 and 2/2012
                              Myectomy 8/11/06 - Joe Dearani - Mayo Clinic.


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