Shareef O’Neal to Sit Out Next Season to Undergo Major Heart Surgery

September 28, 2018 Updated: September 28, 2018

18-year-old UCLA Bruins basketball star Shareef O’Neal announced on Sept. 28 that he’ll have to sit out next season to undergo major heart surgery.

According to TMZ, O’Neal said he’s been getting checkups regularly, and the doctors found “a medical issue” regarding his heart.

The son of former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal thanked UCLA’s medical staff for discovering the issue early, in an interview with TMZ.

The Bruin’s player posted on Twitter about how he was feeling: “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 ❤”

The athlete said he’s been in close communication with his parents, Shaquille and Shaunie O’Neal, and he’ll make sure to attend school during his recovery.

“During rehab, I’ll be attending my classes and being a normal student,” O’Neal told TMZ.

He described the health issue as “just a bump in the road,” and vowed to be back on the court in 2019.