The men’s basketball team had a rocky start to their season with a loss to UT-Arlington followed by a player collapsing on the court during a game. The team, which has a 2-1 overall record, is still recovering from the loss.
Junior guard Curtis Allen was injured ten minutes into the team’s game against Redlands University on Nov. 8. Allen had to be hospitalized, men’s basketball head coach Terry Butterfield said.
“I think that weighed heavily on our team. I’m not sure how to quantify his loss and the effect that it had on the team,” Butterfield said. “He’s probably never going to be able to play again, so that’s difficult. We’ll be missing him for the rest of the season and then the adjustments are that when you lose a key person, somebody who’s waiting in the wings has to step up and has to show themselves worthy of taking over those minutes in that position.”
Senior guard Xavier Ferrell said Allen collapsed on the court during the game against Redlands due to heart problems which resulted in cardiac arrest.
“At first it was kind of hard because Curtis is my best friend on and off the court,” Ferrell said. “It was very emotional and sad to see him go down like that. But at the same time, it helped our team come together. We all want to perform and succeed and do well for him. So looking forward, we’re going to try and dedicate the season to him and use this situation as motivation.”
Allen, who has been with the team since his freshman year, made an online statement after the event. In the statement, Allen said that without an automated external defibrillator, he would’ve had a 9% chance of survival. He said he will be undergoing a procedure to place a defibrillator by his heart.
“This past weekend during the first game of my senior year, I almost lost my life. I went into ventricular fibrillation, which is a life-threatening heart rhythm that resulted in me going into cardiac arrest on the court during the game,” the statement reads. “Heartbreaking to say that I will not be able to finish out my career at UTD and I don’t know when I can play basketball again. Something I’ve poured my heart and soul into over the years. It’s not going to be easy to put the ball down, however this will only make me stronger and I’m blessed to even be able to write this message to y’all.”
Allen scored 51 points and played 755 minutes for the Comets in his career. Last season, he hit a season high at a Feb. 7 game against the Ozarks, scoring 20 points and seven field goals in the same game.
The team won the game against Redlands after Allen’s collapse 74-71 in overtime and later won their Homecoming game against Trinity 78-62. The Comets have 2 losses so far this season, 84-50 against UT-Arlington in an exhibition match and 91-86 against Whittier.
Butterfield said he is counting on senior Hans Burwitz, Weber and Ferrell to lead the team this season.
“I am counting on them heavily for high quality leadership and if they can give us the sort of guidance and direction that we need from them, we can move forward,” Butterfield said. “They happen to be three of our best players.”