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Jason Collier, Atlanta Hawks center, 28, dead - heart stopped?

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    Good For You

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I thought this should get its own topic.

Updated: Oct. 15, 2005, 11:35 PM ET
Cause of death not immediately clear
ESPN.com news services

ATLANTA -- Atlanta Hawks center Jason Collier died early Saturday after he had trouble breathing and was stricken in his home, his father said. He was 28.

General manager Billy Knight said the cause of death was not immediately clear for the 7-foot, 260-pound player. He said Collier had "no issues" in a preseason physical given to all players.

Jeff Collier told The Associated Press his son died in an ambulance on the way to the hospital and did not have any diagnosed health problems apart from his knees.

Team spokesman Arthur Triche initially said Collier possibly died of cardiac arrest, but would not provide details. He later said the team was not sure how Collier died. Collier's agent, Richard Howell, said an autopsy was being performed.

Later, Forsyth County Coroner Lauren McDonald said the family asked him not to release any preliminary results Saturday. He said he would make a statement Sunday.

"We'll wait until the experts can tell us, but there's no comments about any speculating at all that I'm going to do," Knight said. "Right now we just think about Jason and his family, his wife and a daughter. He was a good guy, a great teammate and a member of our organization. We're going to miss him."

The Hawks canceled an open scrimmage Saturday, but will play a preseason game on Monday night at Charlotte.

"We are saddened by the news of Jason Collier's sudden passing," NBA commissioner David Stern said. "He epitomized hard work, dedication and perseverance, and more importantly compassion, kindness and selflessness."

Jeff Collier said he received a phone call at 3:30 a.m. Saturday from Jason's wife, Katie, who said her husband was having trouble breathing and quickly turned blue.

"You get a call and it's your daughter-in-law crying saying she's giving him CPR and trying to keep him going," Jeff Collier said. "I guess it took awhile for the paramedics to get there. He had a slight pulse when they took him and he passed away in the ambulance while they took him to the hospital."

Jeff Collier told the AP by phone from his home in Springfield, Ohio, that his son had knee surgery when he played in Houston.

"We don't know exactly what happened," he said. "I'm anxious to find out. But I guess it doesn't make a whole lot of difference at this point."

Howell said Collier and his wife ate dinner at a restaurant Friday night and then returned home, where Collier spent time playing with his daughter.

"He started feeling real bad in the middle of the night," said Howell, who spoke with Collier's wife. "It's just very sad. I'm totally stunned and devastated."

"He was a down-low comedian," Hawks captain Al Harrington said with tears in his eyes. "He always had a joke for something that you couldn't hear unless you were sitting right next to him. He was a hilarious dude. And it's crazy to me to think we'll never see him again."

Harrington and Collier sat near each other in the Hawks' locker room. He and guard Tony Delk took the news of Collier's death especially hard.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constituion, Delk said his and Collier's wives talked frequently and that their daughters played together often.

"Jason was just a different dude," Delk told the newspaper. "He lived out by Lake Lanier and nobody else on the team lives out that way. He used to talk about how his commute took forever. But he loved being by the lake."

Collier's death is particularly shocking in an era when an NBA player's health is so closely scrutinized. Eddy Curry, who was forced to miss time with the Chicago Bulls last year due to an irregular heartbeat, underwent numerous tests on his heart before his trade to the Knicks could be completed last week.

"I'm actually glad I took the test I did take [for the Knicks]," Curry told reporters before New York's preseason matchup with New Jersey on Saturday. "I had so many doctors look at everything about my heart to make sure I'm 100 percent ready to come on this court.

"But I hope [my situation doesn't overshadow] that something tragic happened and that it's a tough time for his family. You keep praying for the family and hope they make it through."

Collier was a part-time starting center the last two seasons after playing mostly as a backup in three years at Houston. He began his college career at Indiana before transferring to Georgia Tech.

Former Tech coach Bobby Cremins said Collier "was a happy-go-lucky kid."

"He married an Atlanta girl and adopted Atlanta as his hometown," Cremins said. "He came back and got his degree, which I was very proud of."

Collier started 44 games last season for Atlanta, averaging 5.7 points and 2.6 rebounds in 13.5 minutes. With the addition of Zaza Pachulia, Collier was not projected as a starter this season but was viewed as a top backup. In two preseason games, Collier averaged 3.5 points and 3.0 rebounds.

Collier was drafted by Milwaukee in 2000 in the first round, the 15th pick overall, and was traded to Houston.

Jeff Collier said Jason had been married to Katie for four years and had a 1-year-old daughter, Elezan.

The elder Collier played at Georgia Tech from 1972-76 and said his son initially decided to wear the same No. 52 he did at Tech.

"He was a beautiful kid," Collier said. "Everybody he touched liked him. He played basketball from the time he was in the fourth grade until now. I don't think the kid was ever in a fight or an altercation."

Funeral arrangements are incomplete but the family plans a private viewing.

"Jason didn't really care to be a spectacle," his father said. "He would have wanted this to be a quiet thing. Instead of people being grim, he wants them laughing."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.



    A Matter of Time

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Posted Image Sep 8, 1977 - Oct 15, 2005

And then from Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the comments being left here



    Some say...

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RIP. What David Stern said about him is true.



    Malo libertatum periculosum quam quietam servitutem.

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Howell said Collier and his wife ate dinner at a restaurant Friday night and then returned home, where Collier spent time playing with his daughter.

"He started feeling real bad in the middle of the night," said Howell, who spoke with Collier's wife. "It's just very sad. I'm totally stunned and devastated."

What if the food was bad somehow?
Just a thought.



    A Matter of Time

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Collier had enlarged heart


Collier had enlarged heart
Autopsy reveals no drugs or chemicals in late Hawks center's system

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 11/01/05
Hawks center Jason Collier died last month of sudden cardiac rhythm disturbance caused by an enlarged heart, the state's chief medical examiner said Tuesday.

An autopsy showed that "his heart was definitely enlarged and abnormal," Dr. Kris Sperry said during a news conference at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation headquarters in DeKalb County.

There was no evidence of drugs or chemicals in Collier's system, he said.

Collier, who played collegiately at Georgia Tech, died Oct. 15 at the age of 28 after having trouble breathing while sleeping at his home near Lake Lanier.

Sperry said the 7-foot-tall, 260-pound basketball player's heart was 70 percent larger than average.

"For a man his size, 580 grams is the upper limits of normal," Sperry said.

Collier's heart weighed 640 grams, according to the medical examiner. He also had an abnormally structured mitral valve, Sperry said.

Sperry said detecting the heart problem would have been difficult because of Collier's size and the fact he was an athlete.

"Chest x-rays and echo cardiograms are accurate, but there is a limit as to what they can see," Sperry said.

"We have the unfortunate advantage of taking the heart out and weighing it," Sperry said.

However, Collier's medical records showed electrical abnormalities on "at least two" electrocardiograms, Sperry said.

"Looking at them now, and in retrospect in knowing what's going on with his heart, the abnormalities may have been associated with what we found in examining his heart," Sperry said.

"If it were me, I would have wanted more studies done to clarify what those abnormalities meant in light of the fact Jason was an athlete."

Sperry said that he had no evidence that Collier was informed there was anything wrong with his heart. Collier's wife said he had never been told of a reason for concern, according to Sperry.

Sperry did indicate that the family has concerns about the medical tests in 2003 and 2005 that showed abnormalities and "when we get all the findings back I think the family will have some of those examined in closer detail, based upon the results."

Collier's wife and parents could not be reached for comment.

Sperry did not say that the Hawks or his former NBA team the Houston Rockets were negligent in clearing Collier to play.

Sperry said he has ordered further tests to determine whether the condition was genetic and might affect Collier's siblings and child. Those tests will take "weeks to a month," he said.

The Hawks left for Oakland on Tuesday, where they will open the NBA season Wednesday night against Golden State. The team will wear black shoulder patches on their uniforms and will leave Collier's uniform in his locker through the season.

Collier, a Springfield, Ohio native, was a high school All-America and played at Indiana University before transferring to Georgia Tech (1998-2000). Collier's father also played basketball at Georgia Tech (1972 to 1976).

—The Associated Press contributed to this article.




    Good For You

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This is a sad report. Those abnormalities should have been checked out further, as stuff like that is nothing to delay or mess around with.




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RIP... I really liked that guy...