Russell tweeted Thursday that after enrolling at the University of Florida just days ago, he was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The heart condition, Russell said, will prevent him from playing college football and pursuing his dream to play in the NFL.
“It is extremely hard to believe that after going through the process of early graduation, and consistently physically preparing myself for the next level, today, that all comes to an end,” Russell said in his tweet. “This is the last thing I expected to hear and I would not wish this upon my worst enemy.”
Florida released a statement saying the condition was found during the incoming pre-participation physical, and the medical staff discovered an abnormality in Russell’s cardiac workup.
“As tragic as this is for Randy and his family to hear this news, this discovery is life-saving for him,” Florida coach Dan Mullen said in a statement. “We will be fully supportive in any way we can for Randy and his family. He will continue to be a part of the Gator football family and we will assist him in his academic pursuits at the University of Florida.”
Russell, a three-star prospect from Miami, confirmed he wants to be a part of the football program, and that the staff and coaches have been supportive upon learning this news.
This is the second time in three months that Florida has had a football player diagnosed with a career-ending heart condition. Freshman wide receiver James Robinson was not cleared to play after being evaluated by doctors across the country, although his condition was not specified.