View Full Version : Jason Collier Dies

10-15-2005, 10:46 AM
Hawks Center Jason Collier Dies Suddenly

ATLANTA - Atlanta Hawks center Jason Collier died early Saturday after he had trouble breathing and was stricken in his home, his father said. He was 28.

General manager Billy Knight said the cause of death was not immediately clear for the 7-foot, 260-pound player. He said Collier had "no issues" in a preseason physical given to all players.

Jeff Collier told The Associated Press his son died in an ambulance on the way to the hospital and did not have any diagnosed health problems apart from his knees.

Team spokesman Arthur Triche initially said Collier possibly died of cardiac arrest, but would not provide details. He later said the team was not sure how Collier died.

"We'll wait until the experts can tell us, but there's no comments about any speculating at all that I'm going to do," Knight said. "Right now we just think about Jason and his family, his wife and a daughter. He was a good guy, a great teammate and a member of our organization. We're going to miss him."

The Hawks canceled an open scrimmage Saturday because Knight said the team was devastated. The Hawks play an exhibition game Monday at Charlotte, N.C.

"The players took it hard, as you would expect," Knight told the AP. "We'll try to deal with it and keep moving forward."

Jeff Collier said he received a phone call at 3:30 a.m. Saturday from Jason's wife, Katie, who said her husband was having trouble breathing and quickly turned blue.

"You get a call and it's your daughter-in-law crying saying she's giving him CPR and trying to keep him going," Jeff Collier said. "I guess it took awhile for the paramedics to get there. He had a slight pulse when they took him and he passed away in the ambulance while they took him to the hospital."

Jeff Collier told the AP by phone from his home in Springfield, Ohio, that his son had knee surgery when he played in Houston.

"Now all of a sudden this comes up," he said. "We don't know exactly what happened. I'm anxious to find out. But I guess it doesn't make a whole lot of difference at this point."

Collier was a part-time starting center the last two seasons after playing mostly as a backup in three years at Houston. He began his college career at Indiana before transferring to Georgia Tech.

Collier started 44 games last season, averaging 5.7 points and 2.6 rebounds in 13.5 minutes. With the addition of Zaza Pachulia, Collier was not projected as a starter this season but was viewed as a top backup. In two preseason games, Collier averaged 3.5 points and 3.0 rebounds.

Collier was drafted by Milwaukee in 2000 in the first round, the 15th pick overall, and was traded to Houston.

Jeff Collier said Jason had been married to Katie for four years and had a 1-year-old daughter, Elezan.

The elder Collier played at Georgia Tech from 1972-76 and said his son initially decided to wear the same No. 52 he did at Tech.

"He was a beautiful kid," Collier said. "Everybody he touched liked him. He played basketball from the time he was in the fourth grade until now. I don't think the kid was ever in a fight or an altercation."

Funeral arrangements are incomplete but the family plans a private viewing.

"Jason didn't really care to be a spectacle," his father said. "He would have wanted this to be a quiet thing. Instead of people being grim, he wants them laughing."


much sadness.

10-15-2005, 11:17 AM
How sad for his family and the team. Prayers for both.

10-15-2005, 11:58 AM
RIP...definitely a shock...kinda at a loss for words because its such a shock.

10-15-2005, 01:42 PM
I can't believe this. It's so sad, I'm literally tearing up as I type this. My condolecses to his wife and child. Heart problems are becoming more and more prevalent in the NBA now. Maybe this will change some perspectives. This is just tragic.

10-15-2005, 02:07 PM
Professional sports should make heart "physicals" standard practice. As big as some of these guys are and as much stress they put on their hearts, there should be more routine checkups of their hearts.

(I'm surprised by his death. I wonder if was a heredity issue?)

10-15-2005, 02:18 PM
I'm guessing heredity will ultimately play a role in this. Sad news.

10-15-2005, 05:42 PM
First, this is terrible news. I can't believe what it would be like on a family. I know that the family has enough money to get through it, but I'd rather have a working-class dad for my childhood than have that extra cash.

And I just played against him on NBA 2k6. What a shock. What is it with all the athletes dropping dead lately? It just seems to me that in the last 5 years we've seen a huge increase in the number of athletes dying.

I also wonder why in the hell Curry refused the test on his heart, and whether Isaiah is going to have to do some explaining in the next few years for signing a guy like Curry to a huge contract, without a DNA test, and without heart-related injury insurance.

10-15-2005, 06:56 PM
Maybe Curry will think twice now about taking a test. I'd rather live then have 60 million. Guess that is just a personal preference.

10-15-2005, 08:40 PM
Originally posted by: Bayliss
Professional sports should make heart "physicals" standard practice. As big as some of these guys are and as much stress they put on their hearts, there should be more routine checkups of their hearts.

(I'm surprised by his death. I wonder if was a heredity issue?)

I'm pretty sure that he probably had to take a physical just before camp opened.

10-15-2005, 09:04 PM
Physical examinations do not reveal issues dealing with heredity (unless genetic testing is done which is not likely) and rarely do they indicate heart attack unless a stress test is given or the person reports pains which may indicate heart stress.

10-15-2005, 09:41 PM
i/expressions/face-icon-small-sad.gif wow

10-15-2005, 09:58 PM
I believe that height has a major negative impact on the health of the heart...especially above the height of 6'6 to 6'7. But, I'll leave that to the medical experts here on the board.

10-15-2005, 10:27 PM
Players not only are (on average) taller than they once were... they are much bigger than they once were. Weightlifting, etc has really been stressed in all sports for the last 15 years. It is not "healthy" for players to be that size and pit that much strain on their bodies.

It probably did not cause Jason's death but it's a shame that there are more and more cases of these in professional sports.

10-16-2005, 10:58 AM
Very sad & shocking news i/expressions/face-icon-small-sad.gif

10-16-2005, 02:19 PM
Originally posted by: Murphy3
I believe that height has a major negative impact on the health of the heart...especially above the height of 6'6 to 6'7. But, I'll leave that to the medical experts here on the board.

You are exactly correct. In the past few years we have seen increased aortic stress and a rise in Marfan's syndrome. Some of you may remember olympic volleyball player Flo Hyman who died of this. Sometimes the aortic stress is not diagnosed as Marfans but it mimics this unfortunate disease.

10-16-2005, 05:23 PM
Flo Hyman?

10-16-2005, 10:38 PM
Originally posted by: madape
Flo Hyman?

Yes. She was perhaps the most dominant volleyball player of all time. You can read more about her by clicking here (http://www.blackathlete.com/Volleyball/index.shtml).

10-18-2005, 02:09 PM

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the
world, Grant them rest.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the
world, Grant them eternal rest.
Let everlasting light shine on them, O Lord,
with your saints forever
for you art merciful.
Eternal rest grant them, Lord
and let perpetual light shine upon them.


10-18-2005, 11:23 PM
Autopsy incomplete, but focus is on heartBy Chris Sheridan
ESPN Insider

Medical examiners are focusing on the possibility of a heart abnormality in their investigation into the sudden death of 28-year-old Atlanta Hawks center Jason Collier, according to his agent.

"They are looking at the heart," agent Richard Howell told ESPN.com. "They preliminarily see an abnormality, but they still have a lot of work to do. It could be anything, and they're looking at everything."

Howell said he had received no further specifics on what particular type of heart abnormality Collier apparently had. Collier died early Saturday after experiencing trouble breathing at his home. His wife administered CPR, but Collier was pronounced dead on arrival at a suburban Atlanta hospital.

Forsyth County coroner Lauren McDonald said it could take up to six weeks before the autopsy is finalized. Pathologists and technicians are conducting numerous tests and reviewing Collier's medical records from his time with the Houston Rockets and Hawks as part of their investigation.

Hawks spokesman Arthur Triche said the team had been asked by Collier's family to defer any comment until after Collier's funeral Wednesday.

Howell stressed that the Collier's apparent heart abnormality was only one of many causes of death being investigated by the coroner's office. He said he was concerned over what he perceived as a growing public misperception that an exact cause of death had already been determined and was being kept from the public.

"The real story here is what a tragedy this is for Jason's family," Howell said. "The autopsy is incomplete, period, and there is no autopsy report being withheld. The facts are that the family is anxiously awaiting the autopsy and have not made any specific request that the autopsy results not be released."

McDonald said he regretted if his earlier comments regarding the family's wishes had been misconstrued.

"I want people to focus on his life, not his death," McDonald said.

Heart ailments among basketball players have been a major topic in the NBA for the past month. Center Eddy Curry, who missed the final 13 regular-season games and the playoffs last season after experiencing an irregular heartbeat, was traded by the Chicago Bulls to New York earlier this month after he refused to take a DNA test that might have shown whether he was genetically susceptible to cardiomyopathy.

Reggie Lewis of the Boston Celtics died of sudden cardiac arrest in 1993, and Loyola Marymount forward Hank Gathers collapsed during a game and died on the court in 1990. Both were afflicted with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, an excessive thickening of the heart muscle.

During his three seasons with the Rockets, Collier spoke often of the lake home he hoped to build someday in Georgia, where he had met his wife, Katie, and played at Georgia Tech. Collier wound up with the Hawks in March 2004 and was in the process of building a home on Lake Lanier, about an hour away from his job with the Hawks.

"He was a really nice kid, really fun to be around, and that's what makes it even more difficult," said Detroit coach Flip Saunders, who worked with Collier with the Minnesota Timberwolves in October 2003.