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Florida basketball star Keyontae Johnson makes first public statement since collapsing on court

Florida Gators basketball star Keyontae Johnson addressed the public on Friday for the first time since he collapsed during a game last Saturday. In a brief video statement, Johnson thanked his fans and his doctors for the support he received while he was hospitalized.

"First and foremost I would like to thank God. I know y'all have been sending your prayers out the last few weeks, and me and my parents are very grateful for the prayers that have been going out," Johnson said. 

"To all doctors and medical staff at Tallahassee Memorial and UF Shands, I do want to say thank you for all the support y'all gave me, especially the lady that was in the gym at Florida State," he added. "To my Gator nation and the UF athletic family, I just want to thank you for all the prayers that y'all gave out to me. Go Gators."  

Johnson, the Southeastern Conference's preseason player of the year, collapsed last Saturday during a game against the Florida State Seminoles. The 21-year-old was given brief medical attention on the side of the court before he was transported to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital.

The Gators said soon after that Johnson was in stable but critical condition. On Tuesday, his parents said he was breathing on his own and had been speaking with doctors and his teammates. 

Two days later, the team tweeted that he was showing "truly encouraging signs of progress." 

It's not yet clear what caused Johnson to collapse. This summer, he tested positive for COVID-19, which can cause an infection of the heart muscle known as myocarditis. But conference rules require players to undergo heart testing and physical exams before they can return to the court. 

Zoe Christen Jones contributed reporting. 

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