After heart transplant, ex-NBA player Scot Pollard plans to campaign for organ donations


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Scot Pollard had grown so accustomed to his weak and failing heart that he didn’t realize how close he was to dying.

“Oh, boy. That thing was a wreck,” the former NBA player and “Survivor” contestant told The Associated Press on Friday, a day after he was released from the hospital and two weeks after he received a heart transplant.

“The doctors immediately knew I was much closer to death once they pulled my heart out,” Pollard said. “I don’t think I would have made it another couple of weeks.”

An 11-year NBA veteran who was a member of the 2008 champion Boston Celtics, Pollard inherited a condition from his father, who died at 54, when Scot was 16. Scot Pollard’s heart deteriorated quickly after he contracted a virus in 2021; attempts to fix the problem with medication or less radical procedures were unsuccessful, leaving a transplant as the only option.

But finding a heart big enough to pump blood throughout the body of the 6-foot-11, 260-pound former NBA center was a challenge. Pollard was advised to list himself at as many transplant centers as possible (though they needed to be nearby, so he could be available within four hours if a donor heart became available.)

Pollard, 49, underwent pre-transplant testing near his home in Carmel, Indiana, and Chicago, but when he arrived at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center last month he was admitted to intensive care and bumped up to the second-highest priority for organ transplants, because of his condition.

Nine days later, his wife, Dawn, posted on X: “ It’s go time!”

“The fact that it came so quick probably saved my life. I don’t know how much longer I would have lasted,” Scot Pollard said. “I was just declining so fast.”

Privacy rules don’t allow Pollard to know the identity of his donor, though doctors told him it was “a big man.” What is allowed: A recipient can write a letter that will be delivered to the donor’s family if they want. (They can also write the recipient, though Pollard had not received such a letter yet.)

Speaking from temporary housing in Nashville, Tennessee, where…

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Author : NBC Sports

Publish date : 2024-03-02 00:25:44

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