“It feels like I’m walking uphill all the time,” the former NBA pro said of his heart condition
Scot Pollard, a former athlete who once earned a championship ring with the Boston Celtics in 2008, is now in dire need of a new heart.
The 48-year-old, who spent 11 seasons with the NBA, has been admitted to Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s intensive care unit in Nashville as he awaits a heart transplant, the Associated Press said in an article updated on Thursday.
PEOPLE was unable to reach a rep for Pollard.
According to the outlet, the 6-foot-11 basketball standout’s size could be a factor in finding “a pump big and strong enough to supply blood to his extra large body.”
“I’m staying here until I get a heart,” he told AP in a text message on Wednesday night. “My heart got weaker. [Doctors] agree this is my best shot at getting a heart quicker.”
Pollard was previously diagnosed with a genetic condition and it is believed that a virus he contracted in 2021 could have worsened the situation. However, his size makes finding a suitable donor all the more difficult.
He told the outlet that half of his siblings have the genetic condition, and the former Indiana Pacers player lost his dad to it when he died in the 1990s at the age of 54. Pollard was just 16 at the time.
“That was an immediate wake-up call,” he told CBS 13 Sacramento last month. “You don’t see a lot of old (7-) footers walking around. So I’ve known that my whole life, just because I had that seared into my brain as a 16-year-old, that — yeah, being tall is great, but I’m not going to see 80.”
During the phone conversation, Pollard, who also previously appeared as a contestant on Survivor, added that the condition regularly affects his breathing.
“It feels like I’m walking uphill all the time,” he said.
Before being admitted to the intensive care unit, Pollard tried several alternatives to improve his health, including ablations, which are procedures to treat atrial fibrillation.
The process uses small burns or freezes to cause some scarring on the inside of the heart to help break up the electrical signals that cause irregular heartbeats. This aids the heart in maintaining a normal heart rhythm, per John Hopkins Medicine.
Pollard said health experts “all agree that more ablations [aren’t] going to fix this, more medication isn’t going to fix that. We need a transplant.”
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He says now it’s up to “donor networks” to give him hope for a new heart, and that experts are “confident I’ll get a heart in weeks not months.”
In a Jan. 10 article published by CBS 13 Sacramento, the former Kings’ player’s wife, Dawn Pollard, opened up on why they decided to publicly address his condition.
"We went back and forth about letting people know about this. It's come to its head and I think it's really important to talk about it," she said. "It's kinda cathartic to get his story out."
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