WESTWOOD (CBSLA) – UCLA basketball player Shareef O’Neal, the son of Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal, will miss the upcoming season in order to undergo heart surgery.
The school’s athletic department confirmed Friday that O’Neal will miss his freshman season. The exact details of his condition were not disclosed.
“The other day, during a routine checkup, we found a medical issue dealing with my heart, and thank God the UCLA medical staff found it early,” O’Neal told TMZ in an on-camera interview. “But causing this, I will not be playing this season.”
O’Neal will be designated medical redshirt freshman. Alex Timiraos, associate director of communications, said O’Neal would remain enrolled in class and on the men’s basketball team.
“The UCLA men’s basketball program completely supports Shareef and his family as he gets this issue resolved,” Timiraos said.
O’Neal explained that the team’s medical staff recently gave him a heart monitor after he “felt funny” during one of his first summer practices with the Bruins.
He said was told to press a button on the device if he felt unwell again, which he did several practices later, after which doctors found what O’Neal described as “something serious and pretty risky.”
“Blessed to be here living today, one of those moments on the court could’ve been my last… I will be back basketball world .. just wait on me. I’ll miss you this year but you will always be with me,” O’Neal wrote on Twitter.
O’Neal, 18, attended Crossroads School in Santa Monica.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)