Jay Simpson's days as a basketball player are, sadly, done. Coach Matt Painter announced tonight that the redshirt freshman would end his playing career after being diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyotrophy (HTM), a heart condition most known for taking the lives of others such as Hank Gathers, Reggie Lewis, Kevin Duckworth and Jason Collier. Somewhat interestingly, Gathers passed away from the condition 24 years ago today.
"Obviously, this is very tough and upsetting news to take. You never want to see a young athlete's career end in a fashion like this. Jay had a very bright future in our program and we are disappointed that he will not be able to continue his basketball career," Painter said in a statement. "We are very fortunate that our doctors were able to detect this condition early, which will enable Jay to live a long and healthy life."
"HCM is a disease which causes structural abnormalities to the heart and may lead to sudden death in young exercising athletes. It's discovery precludes the participation in competitive sports," Purdue team doctor Greg Rowdon said in the official Purdue release.
Simpson played in 26 games for the Boilers this season after sitting out his first season in West Lafayette redshirting. He collapsed at Nebraska Feb. 23 and had not played since. He averaged 4.3 points per game and 3.6 rebounds while dishing out 15 assists, grabbing 12 steals and blocking eight shots in 12.0 minutes per game.
Simpson is reportedly on course to graduate in May 2016 and will remain on scholarship.
UPDATE: Here is how the scholarship situation looks like right now: