Husky Guard Kayla Burt Diagnosed With Career-Ending Heart Condition

Jan. 6, 2003

SEATTLE, Wash. - The basketball career of Washington sophomore starting guard Kayla Burt (Arlington, Wash.) has come to an end due to a medical condition, Husky women's head coach June Daugherty announced today.

Burt was diagnosed as having an inherited problem with the electrical conduction system in her heart called Long Q-T Syndrome following tests performed at the University of Washington Medical Center this past week. The 5-11 sophomore underwent surgery today to have an automatic defibrillator implanted in the right side of her chest. The implant will monitor her heart rhythm and emit an electrical shock to restore a normal rhythm should another abnormality occur.

Burt suffered a sudden death episode while at her home in Seattle on New Year's Eve with several of her Husky teammates. Junior sisters Giuliana and Gioconda Mendiola administered CPR until emergency medical technicians arrived at the scene. Former Husky women's basketball player Michelle Perkins (who played at UW from 1993-95) was one of the paramedics that responded.

Burt was taken to the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle where she has remained since. She has been under the care of electro-cardiologist Dr. Peter Kudenchuk, attending general cardiologist Dr. Alan Pearlman and UW team physician Dr. Kim Harmon. She is schedule to be released from the hospital on Tuesday.

'Kayla is going to be able to shoot around and have a normal life, but it is unlikely that playing Division I basketball is going to be safe for her,' Harmon said.

Before falling ill, Burt started 10 Husky games this season averaging eight points and 3.7 rebounds. Despite missing UW's last two games, she is still the Pac-10 leader in three-point shooting percentage (.538) and assist-to-turnover ratio (3.42). After starting just one game as a freshman last season, she broke into the starting lineup in this, her sophomore campaign, and has played a vital role in the Huskies' success that included an eight-game winning streak.

'Hopefully we will have Kayla back in school this quarter,' Daugherty said. 'It sounds like that is something the doctors think she can do. The sooner we can get her back in the arena and with the team, the better. We haven't had the opportunity to sit down and talk about it but she will certainly remain on scholarship and remain on this team and be a huge part of this basketball family. At some point hopefully I can recruit her to be some kind of student assistant coach. We will get to that when we get her a little bit stronger and out of the hospital.'

Burt was second on the team with 41 assists and had been the Huskies' assist leader in four games. She turned in a stellar effort in UW's 64-63 win over Iowa State, Dec. 22, either matching or setting career highs in rebounds (seven), assists (eight), three-pointers made (three) and three-pointers attempted (six).

As a freshman, Burt played in 24 of 31 games and averaged 5.6 points. She missed seven games in December with a stress fracture but made an immediate impact upon her return. Her first starting role came in UW's first WNIT game versus North Texas.

UW will be in action next at Bank of America Arena, Thursday, Jan. 9 versus Arizona State at 7 p.m., followed by a game with No. 20 Arizona, Saturday, Jan. 11 at 8 p.m.

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