A few tears shed as young Sean takes the court
THERE could be a few tears from Katie Baker when her son takes to the court Wednesday night for a club game of basketball.
It will be Sean Baker's first game since he went into cardiac arrest while warming up for a basketball game almost a year ago.
This is a game the 15-year-old's family thought would never come after they spent a year fighting to get their son back playing the sport he loves so much.
Mrs Baker will be in the crowd watching her son.
"It's been a rollercoaster ride. To go through what he had been through and then to get told that 'no you can't play'," she said yesterday.
"We have spent hours of every day researching and fighting to get him to play.
"He had all the rehab team saying 'we need to get you back on the court'.
"It was his (Sean's) only goal."
Initially, cardiologists recommended that Sean not play contact sports because he had an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) implanted after his cardiac arrest.
As a result, he was unable to register with Basketball Queensland until he turned 18 in order to sign a waiver. His family wasn't able to sign it on his behalf.
And at 15, the delay would have ended the promising athlete's dream of playing professional basketball. Just before his medical emergency 12 months ago, Sean had played in a Queensland representative team and was a rising star at Mackay Basketball.
"He wasn't allowed to play based solely on advice (not science)," Mrs Baker said.
The turning point came about a month ago when a study from a group of American cardiologists changed the recommendation for athletes with ICDs.
And so the fight is over; Mackay Basketball has confirmed they've received an email from Basketball Queensland stating that Sean be allowed to take the court again in club fixtures.
Sean can't wait and plans to return to the court just 48 hours after being given the green light.
"It's just phenomenal... just crazy. I never expected it to be this quick," he said.
"I have been training over the big break... nothing crazy."
Evidence of his determination, he did always consider the time out as a break, but he didn't expect to return to the game in just a year.
"I will play if I can (this weekend)," he said.
"There were legal things that didn't let me play the competition, but I did full contact training."
Having spoken to his former Queensland team-mates just days ago, the young Mackay basketball player was quick to call them again overnight "with the news".
"I'm going to be back bigger and better," he said.
Another person in the crowd in Mackay tonight who will be glad to see Sean back will be Anne-Patricia O'Sullivan.
Ms O'Sullivan was one of three nurses (along with Lynda Doring and Evelyn Paul) who started performing CPR when he collapsed on the court during basketball training.
Sean had suffered a cardiac arrest and the team of nurses performed CPR for 40 minutes until he arrived at hospital.
His team-mates and the basketball community have been supportive while Sean's future in basketball has been on hold.
"I was just warming up and after about five minutes I collapsed," Sean said at the time. I can't really remember anything, but I was told they performed CPR on me for around 40 minutes until I made it to hospital."
Since then, Mrs Baker said there had been no problems, which had only helped Sean's case to keep playing.
Now, having grown in the past 12 months, the talented centre plans on showing everyone the experience hasn't slowed him down.