Man who missed ACC tourney half-court shot overcame serious illness

Sunday March 15th, 2015

Scott Park, the man whose missed half-court shot at halftime of Friday's Duke-Notre Dame ACC tournament game, overcame serious medical issues to even have the opportunity to walk into Greensboro Coliseum, reports Sporting News' Ryan Fagan.

Park took the shot for a chance to win $1 million, and when his heave came up way short of the hoop, the clip went viral.

As Sporting News reported on Saturday, Park has battled medical issues for the past eight years. He won an all-expenses-paid trip to the ACC tournament and was given the chance to shoot the ubiquitous million-dollar half-court shot.

After his roller-coaster medical journey the past eight years (more on that in a moment), he doesn’t have the strength to launch the basketball that far. Park, an environmental engineer for the Navy, knew that, but he tried anyway. That’s what he does. 

He’s an optimist. And a realist. He understands why the video went viral.

“I don’t have any problem with it being out there,” he said. “I would probably want to see it myself, like any of us would. I pretty much knew it wasn’t going in. Unless God intervened and put wings on the ball, I was only going to get it part way.”

Park, 56, underwent open-heart surgery in 2007. Two days after returning home, he was forced back to the hospital.

“By end of the weekend,” Park said, “I had five organs starting to shut down: my kidney, liver, spleen, gallbladder, pancreas. They were scratching their heads, the doctors, because they couldn’t figure it out.”

Doctors worked for weeks to diagnose and treat Park, and had nearly given up hope before his organs started to respond. Park was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder, Catastrophic Antiphospholipid Syndrome (CAPS). Only 400 cases of Caps had been diagnosed at that time.

Park received dialysis treatments for the next two years, but his kidneys never responded. After receiving a transplant from a member of his church, he woke up to a smiling face: his surgeon, Dr. Robert Montgomery, told him he was the first person in the world with CAPS to receive a successful transplant. The operation made the New England Journal of Medicine.

What a great story. The full article is on Sporting News' website and absolutely worth a full read.

Mike Fiammetta

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