GAINESVILLE, Fla – If Florida basketball star Keyontae Johnson is unable to pursue a professional career due to health concerns, he could still have lifelong financial security after leaving the Gators.
The Associated Press reported Wednesday night that Johnson has a $ 5 million insurance policy with the NCAA to secure future earnings in the event an injury ends his promising career before he profits professionally.
Johnson has not played basketball and his physical activities have been strictly limited by medics since his collapse on December 12, 2020 at the Florida state court.
Johnson, 22, was voted SEC Preseason Player of the Year and projected an NBA first-round pick when his collapse resulted in a nine-day hospital stay, starting with medics causing a coma. The first round picks get four-year contracts with the first two fully guaranteed while the last two are team options that are usually picked later.
Many expected the worst, but Johnson recovered and joined the Gators with a view to returning to competition.
Instead, Johnson served as a mentor, quasi-coach and vocal supporter of his teammates who hailed him as an inspiration for his positive attitude despite difficult and disheartening circumstances.
In a one-on-one interview this summer with The Orlando Sentinel, Johnson vowed to replay even if not with the Gators. He said medics would not allow him to participate in strenuous activity as the cause of his collapse remained undetermined.
“They just don’t know,” Johnson said. They don’t know if it was my heart or if it could be something else. It was just an abnormal incident. They’re just trying to figure out to make sure I’m okay before they fade away.
Johnson’s state of health has not changed and all information about his future plans will come from him or his family, according to UF.
“It’s an integral part of our program,” said coach Mike White recently. “Don’t practice. Train, help organize practice, prepare for practice, do a little refereeing. He is active in drilling work.
“He does everything he can. He’s a selfless guy. He’s a winner. He always will be and he does everything he can to help his teammates and help us as staff.
The AP reported that Johnson’s policy would allow him to explore gambling options while making an insurance claim. UF paid the premiums on a policy offering Johnson the option of receiving the $ 5 million as a lump sum payment.
The NCAA’s Exceptional Disability Insurance program offers policies of up to $ 10 million for male soccer and basketball players seen as a potential first-round pick, according to AP. Basketball, baseball and ice hockey players may also have policies.
6-foot-5, 225-pound Johnson, a native of Norfolk, Va., Averaged 14 points on 54 percent shots and recovered 7.1 rebounds in his sophomore in 2019-20. He was expected to be the centerpiece of last season’s squad.
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