Tennessee senior associate athletic trainer Chad Newman has reported that basketball player Emmanuel Negedu had a sub-pectoral implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD) implanted in his chest Tuesday morning at UT Medical Center and is doing well. Negedu is expected to remain at the hospital overnight for observation.
Negedu will not practice or play with the Volunteers during the 2009-10 season. He will, however, remain on full scholarship and will continue to be a valuable part of the UT basketball program.
“Emmanuel is such a special young man,” UT head coach Bruce Pearl said. “You don’t come across many like him. He’s faced a tremendously frightening obstacle with unbelievable courage. He is going to be an inspiration to many, and we all feel truly blessed that he’s still here with us.”
On Sept. 28, Negedu suffered a sudden cardiac arrest (ventricular fibrillation) after racing a teammate on the indoor football practice field at Neyland-Thompson Sports Center. The basketball team had recently completed and been dismissed from a group weightlifting session prior to the impromptu race.
Newman and director of sports medicine Jason McVeigh were the first medical personnel to arrive at Negedu’s side, and Newman initiated emergency medical service response.
The use of an on-site automatic external defibrillator (AED) and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) — both of which were administered by Newman — were necessary to revive Negedu, who regained a pulse and consciousness before being transported via ambulance to UT Medical Center.
Negedu was in stable condition during the duration of his hospitalization. He was discharged from UT Medical Center on Oct. 1, wearing an external defibrillator vest. He continued to wear the vest until undergoing Tuesday’s implant procedure.
From the time of his admission to UT Medical Center through Sept. 30, Negedu underwent a battery of tests. He traveled with his American host family and Newman to Cleveland, Ohio, on Oct. 1, to meet with specialists at the Cleveland Clinic. The group returned to Knoxville Friday evening, and Tuesday’s implant was scheduled over the weekend.
The ICD is a permanent device that constantly monitors the heart’s rhythm, and when an irregularity occurs, the ICD delivers energy to the heart muscle which returns the heart to its normal rhythm.
“I just want to say thanks to all those people that care about me and show me they care,” Negedu said. “I want to say I appreciate everything.
“God is going to see me through this. With God, all things are possible. God is always in control.”
Upon his enrollment at UT in the summer of 2008, Negedu underwent an echocardiogram and an electrocardiogram (EKG), both of which are part of routine physical examinations for incoming UT student-athletes. No issues were detected on those tests that precluded Negedu’s participation with the basketball team.
A native of Kaduna, Nigeria, Negedu played in 33 games as a true freshman last season. The 6-7 forward shot a team-best 80 percent from the free-throw line while averaging 1.9 points and 1.7 rebounds per game. His best performance came Jan. 28 against LSU, during which he totaled 11 points, two rebounds, one assist and one block in 15 minutes of action.