Former Baylor Basketball Standout Joins Marfan Foundation

BALTIMORE (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — A college basketball standout whose NBA dreams ended because of a rare disease is a new spokesman for the Marfan Foundation.

Twenty-year-old Isaiah Austin was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome just ahead of last month’s NBA draft, in which he was projected to be a first-round pick. The diagnosis forced the former Baylor center to quit playing competitive basketball.  However, in a symbolic move NBA Commissioner Adam Silver called Austin’s name between the 15th and 16th pick of at last month’s draft. Austin took the stage and posed for pictures with Silver at the New York City event.

Marfan syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects the body’s connective tissue. Undiagnosed patients are at risk of sudden death from a tear or rupture of their aorta.

Record label executive Ronald “Slim” Williams joined Austin for Saturday’s announcement in Baltimore. Williams also has Marfan syndrome and will also serve as a spokesman for the foundation, which raises awareness of the disease.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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