Bronny James Cleared for Practice After Cardiac Arrest, Reigniting Excitement for College and Pro Basketball Future

Four months after a cardiac arrest during practice, Bronny James has been granted full clearance to return to the basketball court, as announced by a James family representative on Thursday. The plan is for the USC freshman to resume practicing as early as next week.

According to the family spokesperson, Bronny will undergo a final evaluation with USC staff this week, then will proceed to practice next week and make a return to games soon after.

The 19-year-old son of Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James had collapsed during a practice session in July, spending three days in the hospital. Doctors later discovered that a congenital heart defect caused his sudden collapse, and were confident in his eventual recovery.

At the end of the day, the paramount concern in all of this is the recovery itself. An emphatic sigh of relief accompanies the news that this 19-year-old guard, after enduring the terrifying experience of cardiac arrest, is healthy and strong enough to return to the sport he loves.

But it’s not that simple, especially since Bronny James isn’t just any ordinary teenager. He is the Son of LeBron, already forecasted, at least in the hopes and dreams of his father, to partner up with his dad in the ultimate father-son NBA duo at some point in the near future.

The waiting game is now over and the excitement begins. First, we have the Bronny Watch – an anticipation of when he might play with the Trojans. The Trojans are headed to No. 11 Gonzaga on Saturday and have only one home game left—against Long Beach State on December 10—before the calendar year concludes, followed by road trips to Alabama and Oregon. They then return home on Jan. 3 to play against Cal.

After that, comes the inevitable Bronny Breakdown. How will he look? Can he play? Does he have what it takes to meet the expectations, as insurmountable as they may be?
James’ entrance into college basketball was always going to be a significant shift. Prior to committing to USC, many doubted whether he was deserving of the attention he was receiving. But a solid senior season at powerhouse Sierra Canyon, where he averaged 14 points and five rebounds, propelled him to 22nd in the 247Sports Composite rankings, vanquishing any lingering questions about whether his surname justified the hype.

Bronny James will return to practice next week and games soon after, according to a family spokesperson. (Photo: Alex Bierens de Haan / Getty Images)

Together with USC, he considered Ohio State, Oregon, and evaluated the G-League Ignite and Overtime Elite leagues before deciding to stay near home and sign with the Trojans. However, by joining Andy Enfield’s team, the combo guard entered a squad that already boasted a solid backcourt, courtesy of Isaiah Collier, the consensus No. 1 freshman in the nation, and Boogie Ellis, the Trojans’ top returning scorer. Naturally, people wondered how James might fit in.

All of this speculation came to an abrupt halt on July 24, when James collapsed during a summer workout. He was quickly rushed to Cedars Sinai Hospital where he underwent a procedure to address the congenital heart defect. Now, the question shifted from his ability to play to whether he would ever play again.

In October, LeBron James provided an update on his son’s progress, stating that Bronny had “begun his rehab process to get back on the floor” at USC. A month later, on Nov. 19, he warmed up alongside his teammates before a game against Brown, sparking speculation of his imminent return.

And now, it’s Bronny time. He joins a USC team that, much like most college basketball teams in November, is a work in progress. Picked to finish second in the Pac-12, the Trojans are currently 5-2, with losses to UC Irvine and Oklahoma.

(Photo: Brian Rothmuller / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)


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