The University of Tennessee will not give medical clearance for sophomore Emmanuel Negedu to return to the men’s basketball team.
The 21-year-old from Kaduna, Nigeria, suffered sudden cardiac arrest on Sept. 28, 2009, when the sophomore’s heart stopped following a light workout and a challenge of a teammate to a race on UT’s indoor football practice field.
“Emmanuel is an exceptional young man, and we hope he will stay at UT as a student with our full support,’’ UT athletic director Mike Hamilton said in a statement Tuesday. “If he decides he would like to pursue a playing career at another school, we will support him in that decision, and we wish him the best.’’
The 6-foot-7, 225-pound Negedu said at Monday night’s Volscars awards ceremonies that he had been cleared and hoped to play again for the Vols.
“I’m hoping it will be here,’’ Negedu said. “I had been cleared by a doctor (in California) but needed to get a second opinion. A second doctor cleared me, and I talked to Coach (Bruce) Pearl about it.’’
Like all Tennessee athletes, Negedu had undergone a precautionary heart screening months prior to collapsing, the results of which showed no signs of future problems.
UT trainer Chad Newman resuscitated Negedu with an automatic external defibrillator and performed CPR. Negedu had an ICD (internal cardiac defibrillator) device implanted in his chest and was unable to play this past season.
“Coach (Pearl) said he needed to talk to the athletic director and they would have to look over all the (medical) charts,’’ Negedu said.
A UT release said the decision to deny Negedu’s request was made after “careful consideration and consultation with both medical experts and current published recommendations.”
Negedu said Monday he has begun working out on his own.