Oct. 26, 2001
Clemson, SC – Clemson sophomore forward Dwon Clifton has been cleared to return to practice and play for the Tigers this year, Clemson Head Coach Larry Shyatt announced Friday.
Initial tests indicated that Clifton, a sophomore from Greensboro, NC, had a heart abnormality called Long QT Syndrome, a problem that inhibits the repolarization process in the heart, a condition that would have prevented Clifton from playing competitive basketball.
But further tests conducted over the last two weeks have shown that Clifton does not have Long QT Syndrome. A feinting spell earlier this fall was the result of extreme fatigue. Clifton had a final battery of tests at Emory Hospital in Atlanta on Thursday. Doctors at Emory gave him the green light to return to practice immediately.
“The tests revealed that Dwon does not have any structural cardiac abnormalities,” said Clemson basketball physician Dr. Len Reeves. “He had a different battery of tests at Emory that showed he does not have Long QT Syndrome. He has Vaso-Vagal, which is a common problem that can lead to feinting spells, as the result of relative dehydration and extreme fatigure. We will continue to monitor Dwon as he returns to practice this week. He is not on any medication.”
Clifton was pleasantly surprised at the result of the tests. “I was shocked because I had prepared myself for the worst,” said Clifton. “I was prepared to be told that I could not play. This experience has made my beliefs in God even stronger. I received all kinds of e-mails and calls from Clemson fans who said they were praying for me. I want to thank them. This is a blessing.”
Clemson Head Coach Larry Shyatt, who went to Emory on Thursday to be with Clifton during the medical testing process was excited with the news. “Or course we are very happy for Dwon and his family. It is reassuring that the Clemson University medical staff took the safe approach the last three weeks. Yesterday there were tears of joy at the Emory Hospital.”
Clifton started 17 of Clemson’s 31 games last year. He and classmate Tony Stockman were the only Tigers to play in every game last year as freshmen. The 6-5 native of High Point, NC averaged 3.9 points and 2.6 assists per game a year ago. His top game was a 10-point, seven-rebound outing at North Carolina late in the year. He had a season high 12 rebounds against Washington in a tournament in Puerto Rico.
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