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"Laying in that hospital, going in and out of consciousness" - Aron Baynes recalls horrific paralysis scare and discusses a potential NBA return

Former NBA veteran Aron Baynes while playing for Australia in the Olympics
Former NBA veteran Aron Baynes while playing for Australia in the Olympics

Aron Baynes has been one of the most underrated big men through his nine seasons in the NBA. He signed a two-year, $14.3 million deal in November 2020 with the Toronto Raptors and played in 53 games last season. Baynes then went to Japan to represent Australia in the Olympics.

What happened next was one of the most shocking stories in the basketball world.

Baynes was participating in warmups during halftime of a game when he lost his balance and collapsed. As a precaution, he sat out the second half. The same situation happened to Baynes three days later, when he fell in a bathroom.

In a shocking story by ESPN's Brian Windhorst, Baynes talked about how he was experiencing a health scare that resulted in him being rushed to the hospital.

"The loneliest time in my life was laying in that hospital, going in and out of consciousness, going over my life plan and my goals and just crying..."
Before the 4th quarter of a close game at the Olympics, Aron Baynes ran to the bathroom. He never came back. Within hours he was in a Tokyo hospital fearing paralysis and his NBA career was derailed.He tells his story for the first time: espn.com/nba/story/_/id…

Aron Baynes determined to get back to NBA

Aron Baynes during his Olympic days for Australia
Aron Baynes during his Olympic days for Australia

Throughout the eye-opening story from Brian Windhorst, Baynes detailed how he had to spend an extended amount of time in the hospital.

The veteran NBA big man spoke about how his body started to decline rapidly and team physicians were confused about what was happening. After Baynes was rushed to the hospital, he had an MRI that revealed he was suffering from internal bleeding that was putting pressure on his spinal cord.

Baynes detailed the procedures that took place, as well as the uncertainty of struggling to communicate with Japanese nurses and doctors in Tokyo. For a player known for this tough mentality, seeing Baynes in a state of fear was shocking.

It wasn't until his 11th day in the hospital that Baynes was finally able to stand again. He began working on his motor skills, which then eventually led to him beginning physical therapy. Baynes detailed how he finally got to a point where he was able to pick up a basketball again.

As he continues to rehab "aggressively," Baynes, who was waived by Toronto on Aug. 4, remains adamant about making a return to the NBA next season. The 35-year-old has been known for his toughness and competitiveness, and it would seem unwise to count him out from returning to the league one day.

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Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein
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