When a player loses his basketball career, it’s tough. When it ends not on his or her own terms, it’s even tougher.
“The phrase that athletes die twice is far truer than any former athlete ever wants to admit.”
Jake Lindsey — son of Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey — wrote the above in a piece on BaylorBears.com that announced his retirement from basketball due to a diagnosis of Parsonage-Turner syndrome. Lindsey starred for Olympus High in Holladay before starring in 103 Baylor men’s basketball games in his 3-year collegiate career.
Parsonage-Turner syndrome is a rare malady occurring in about 1 out of every 100,000 people. It affects the arm and shoulder muscles, causing nerve pain, numbness, and even atrophy of the impacted muscles. There is no known cure or treatment for the syndrome.
“I’ll never forget the way [the doctor] looked at me when he told me he wasn’t sure if I’d ever play high-level basketball again," Lindsey wrote. "There was no certain answer. The nerves had to grow back, and that could be months, or it could be years. Even then, I’d have to rehab them and hope that my shoulder stayed healthy.”
Lindsey says he started feeling the pain last summer, after undergoing an unrelated hip surgery for an issue that had troubled him throughout his basketball career. That led him to the doctor a few weeks later, followed by a battery of tests that diagnosed the rare Parsonage-Turner syndrome.
The Salt Lake Tribune featured Lindsey in an article four years ago, when he was playing at Olympus.
“So much of who you are becomes wrapped up, in my case, in your ability to throw a ball in a hoop,” Lindsey said.
But Lindsey plans to move on. He’ll move back to Salt Lake City after his fiancé graduates in May. He wants to attend law school here, while she plans on going to physician’s assistant school after graduation. The two plan on marrying in September. And Lindsey wants to get into the basketball business, much like his father.
"Our family is very proud of Jake,” Dennis Lindsey told The Tribune in a text message. "I must say on behalf of his Mom: Jake gets all of his intelligence, talents, and sincerity from his Mom. All the bad stuff he was referring to in his article regarding his career, that stuff all originates from his father!”
So we know where Jake Lindsey got his humility from.
“If at any point in reading this story you felt sorry for me, I hope you don’t anymore. I know I don’t," he wrote in his BaylorBears.com piece. "This season has been a blast. If you had told me when I was a little kid that I would get to be on the Baylor basketball team for four years, and for three of those years I would be a somewhat-important part of what the team did on the court, I would’ve taken that in a heartbeat,” Lindsey said. “If you had told me that I would meet the love of my life during that whole process, I would’ve said it’s too good to be true.”