In mid-April just after the coronavirus pandemic reached the United States, Utah State men’s basketball guard Abel Porter announced on social media that he was going to play at Ohio State in the 2020-21 season.
It was an interesting move in many ways, but most especially the rarity of a graduate transfer Utah native ending up on a roster for a projected mid-table Big Ten program.
Wednesday, Porter announced that will no longer happen. He was recently diagnosed with a heart disease called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, he announced on social media, saying he’d undergone months of testing. According to the Mayo Clinic, it’s a disease in which the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick, which can make it harder for the heart to pump blood.
The disease can cause shortness of breath, chest pain, heart palpitations or problems in the heart that can lead to arrhythmias.
“For 24 years, I’ve put everything I have into my basketball career. So much time, money, blood, sweat, and tears has been invested in it,” Porter wrote in a message posted to social media Wednesday. “I never really prepared myself for a life without it. I especially never prepared for basketball to be stripped from me without warning.”
According to the American Heart Association, it’s estimated one in every 500 people have some sort of HCM, but many cases go undiagnosed. There are currently no disease-specific medications to treat HCM, according to the AHA.
“While scary, people with HCM generally lead healthy and normal lives but unfortunately this will end my basketball career,” Porter wrote.
Listed on Utah State’s athletics website as a native of Farmington, Porter graduated from Davis High in 2014 where he played basketball and football.
As a senior at Davis in 2013-14, Porter averaged 14.7 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.7 assists for the Darts, who went 21-3 overall and captured a share of the Region 1 championship.
Porter served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Russia, then went to Utah State and walked on to the basketball team where he eventually became a crucial player for the Aggies.
At USU, Porter was a four-time Academic All-Mountain West honoree and was one of only two players to appear and start in every game during the 2019-20 season when USU won the Mountain West Tournament championship game.
In the 2018-19 season, Porter hit a game-winning 3-pointer with 1.6 seconds left to give the Aggies a 68-66 win at New Mexico.