American basketball legend, Shaquille O’Neal‘s son will be undergoing a heart surgery. Shareef O’Neal, a basketball player with UCLA men announced on Friday that he will sit out his freshman season due to “a serious heart issue” that will require surgery.
The 18-year-old basketball star told TMZ Sports in a video interview that the undisclosed issue was discovered by UCLA doctors and will require surgery. But he said the injury is not believed to be career-ending and he expects to return to the court for the Bruins in the future.
“I am very blessed to be here living today, one of those moments on the court could’ve been my last breathe,” O’Neal later wrote on Instagram. “I want to thank god for looking out for me , I want to thank UCLA , my teammates and most importantly my family … this is just a small bump on the road and I gotta push through it.”
The UCLA basketball team confirmed that O’Neal will take a medical redshirt season but remain enrolled in classes during the 2018-19 academic year.
“The UCLA men’s basketball program completely supports Shareef and his family as he gets this issue resolved,” the team said in a statement.