Purdue player hangs up basketball shoes due to life threatening heart condition

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind – A Purdue basketball forward’s career is over after doctors discover he has a life threatening heart condition.

Jay Simpson’s doctors checked him out after he collapsed with no contact during a game last month. That’s when doctors discovered he had a heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or HCM.

This is the same disease that killed Lawrence North basketball star John Stewart nearly 15 years ago.

“As you see its surreal. This young man was playing ball and no one thought there was anything wrong with him. And to find this out is devastating to the parents right now but they
still have something I don’t have which is my son,” said John Stewart’s mother, Feleica Locklear-Stewart.

HCM causes the heart muscle to thicken and disrupt blood flow. And after performing heart screenings on athletes for years, Dr. Richard Kovacs of IU Health says there’s a startling statistic in college basketball players.

“The NCAA division 1 basketball player has the highest risk for dying during practice or a game. Higher than other division 1 sports,” said Dr. Kovacs.

He’s currently looking into HCM and coming up with ways to not only prevent but to test athletes properly without sounding the alarm on every scenario.

Even though Jay Simpson is hanging up his basketball shoes he’s still very much apart of the team and will keep his scholarship at Purdue.

Mrs. Locklear-Stewart is still going strong with the John Stewart foundation and hopes to purchase a van to go around the community performing heart screenings on young athletes.