Kayla Burt Named Finalist For V Foundation Comeback Award

March 8, 2005

CARY, N.C. --Washington junior guard Kayla Burt has been named one of 17 finalists for the fifth annual V Foundation Comeback Award, the V Foundation for Cancer Research announced Tuesday. The award is presented in partnership with ESPN and will be announced during ESPN's basketball Final Four/NIT weekend coverage.

The honor is presented in memory of Jim Valvano, the late basketball coach and ESPN commentator, whose personal battle with cancer inspired the creation of the V Foundation. The annual award is open to men and women collegiate basketball student-athletes in all NCAA divisions. It is awarded to an individual or team who has accomplished a personal triumph in the face of true adversity, be it in health, life or moral dilemma.

Then a sophomore at Washington, Burt suffered a cardiac arrest on New Year's Eve 2002. Her life was saved by the quick thinking of her teammates who performed CPR on her until paramedics arrived at her off-campus house. Burt, who was in a coma for 15 hours, was diagnosed with a rare genetic heart condition, Long QT Syndrome and a defibrillator was implanted in her chest. With her basketball career seemingly over, Burt rejoined the team as a student assistant coach for the remainder of the 2002-03 season and the 2003-04 season.

During that time, Burt underwent further medical testing, from which results were negative for the heart condition. With the permission of the University of Washington, Burt announced her return to the team on August 17, 2004. Having not played Division I basketball for nearly two years, the 5-11 guard came back to lead the Huskies as a co-captain. She ended the season leading Washington in scoring (9.6 ppg), assists (84), free-throws made (69) and free-throw shooting percentage (75.8 percent). Burt, who started 16 of 29 games, was also second in steals (44) and three-pointers made (44). During the season, Burt ranked among the Top-10 in the Pac-10 in assists, steals, three-pointers and free-throw shooting percentage. She ended the season ranked eighth in the conference in three-pointers with 1.52 per game.

Among her season honors, Burt was named Pac-10 Player of the Week for the week of Feb. 21-27, leading the Huskies to their first road win over Arizona in Tucson since 1995. The win dropped the Wildcats down from a No. 3 seed to a No. 5 seed for last week's Pac-10 Tournament. Burt was also named to the WBCA BTI Classic All-Tournament team.

Past recipients of the V Foundation Comeback Award are Purdue's Katie Douglas (2001), Western Michigan's Kristin Koetsier (2002), Arizona State's Justin Allen (2003) and Texas' Jamie Carey (2004).

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