When senior Jake Lindsey stepped foot onto the Baylor University campus in Waco, Texas in 2015, all he wanted was an opportunity to do something special. After all, it was in his family bloodline. That dream has unexpectedly come to a screeching halt.
Instead of being an 1 in 100,000 college basketball player to make a significant play in the Big 12 or the NCAA Tournament for the Baylor Bears, the 6-foot-5, 200-pound point guard is that one person to be diagnosed with a rare disorder, which has now forced him to retire from the game he loves.
Lindsey was diagnosed with Parsonage-Turner syndrome — an uncommon neurological disorder characterized by rapid onset of severe pain in the shoulder and arm, according to the National Organization of Rare Diseases — and it has officially ended his Baylor basketball career.
If you have a few minutes, take the time to read the full story written by Lindsey, the son of former Baylor Bears guard and Utah Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey. It is a fascinating read from a young man faced with news nobody wants to here, especially at his age.
“I have some unfortunate news: I’ve played my last game in a Baylor uniform. I don’t mean to seem dramatic, but it took me a long while to be able to write that sentence, and much longer than that to come to grips with it. Getting to be on the Baylor men’s basketball team is truly a childhood dream that I’ve been blessed enough to live out every day for the last four years.”
— Baylor Bears guard Jake Lindsey
A product of Olympus High School in Salt Lake City, Utah, Lindsey emerged as a solid role player for the Bears for the last three seasons. He played in 103 games — ironically the same number as his father — and never missed a single game. He even led the Big 12 with a 2.80 assist-to-turnover during his junior season.
Now his career is over.
That’s not to say Jake Lindsay didn’t have some great moments. He scored a career-high 16 points in a win at Texas. He dropped a career-high 11 assists against Kansas State in the Big 12 Tournament. He recorded a career-high four steals against Oklahoma. Heck, he even made a game-tying layup to force overtime against TCU last season.
Lindsey, who graduated from Baylor last summer with a finance degree, was a solid player for head coach Scott Drew, and it’s unfortunate it had to end this way.
“The phrase that athletes die twice is far truer than any former athlete ever wants to admit. It’s hard,” Lindsey wrote. “So much of who you are becomes wrapped up, in my case, in your ability to throw a ball in a hoop. Then it’s taken away, and you are kind of left scrambling.”
Although this is not the fairytale ending Jake Lindsey wanted for his basketball career, there is no doubt he will move forward with his life to do great things having endured the pain of the rare disorder and the heartbreak of having to quick basketball for good.