The Marfan Foundation Features Isaiah Austin in New Public Service Announcement

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Former Baylor Basketball Standout Urges the Public to Know the Signs of Marfan Syndrome

Sometimes, your body type is ideal for sports. In other cases, that same body type may indicate something is wrong. Even potentially fatal. That’s why it’s important to know about Marfan syndrome.

Isaiah Austin, the NBA hopeful out of Baylor University who was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome just prior to the NBA draft in June, is featured in The Marfan Foundation’s new public service announcement.

In the PSA, which focuses on knowing the signs of Marfan syndrome, Austin says: "Sometimes, your body type is ideal for sports. In other cases, that same body type may indicate something is wrong. Even potentially fatal. That’s why it’s important to know about Marfan syndrome."

The PSA was produced by the Boston Celtics, who also honored Austin at their home opener for the 2014-2015 season. During that game, Austin received the Celtics’ Hero Among Us Award on what was called “Marfan Night” at the TD Garden.

“Since Isaiah was diagnosed in June, he has become an important partner for the Foundation in our work to increase awareness and early diagnosis,” said Judy Gibaldi, Acting CEO, The Marfan Foundation. “Half of the people with Marfan syndrome in the U.S. are not diagnosed and, without treatment, are at risk of an early sudden death. We are grateful to Isaiah and the Celtics for their commitment to helping us change that.”

The PSA was officially launched in conjunction with Marfan Awareness Month (February).

Marfan Syndrome

Marfan syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects the body’s connective tissue. Connective tissue holds all the body’s cells, organs and tissue together. It also plays an important role in helping the body grow and develop properly. About 1 in 5,000 people have Marfan syndrome, including men and women of all races and ethnic groups.

Marfan syndrome can affect many different parts of the body. Some features of Marfan syndrome are easier to see than others. These include: long arms, legs and fingers; tall and thin body type; curved spine; chest sinks in or sticks out; flexible joints; flat feet; crowded teeth; and stretch marks on the skin that are not related to weight gain or loss.

Harder-to-detect signs of Marfan syndrome include heart problems, especially those related to the aorta, the large blood vessel that carries blood away from the heart to the rest of the body. Other signs can include sudden lung collapse and eye problems, including severe nearsightedness, dislocated lens, detached retina, early glaucoma, and early cataracts. Special tests are often needed to detect these features.

The Marfan Foundation

The Marfan Foundation creates a brighter future for everyone affected by Marfan syndrome and related disorders. It works tirelessly to advance research, serve as a resource for families and healthcare providers, and raise public awareness.

Learn more and get involved at marfan.org.

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Eileen Masciale
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