Shaquille O’Neal’s son, Shareef, underwent heart surgery on Thursday to correct an irregularity that forced him to miss the 2018 UCLA basketball season.
As reported by TMZ Sports, the 18-year-old learned about his heart condition during a routine checkup with team doctors earlier this year.
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At the time, the budding athlete told the outlet, “Thank God the UCLA medical staff caught it early.”
O’Neal’s operation was performed Thursday morning, and his mother, Shaunie, was there to support
“This morning was by far my toughest moment being a Mom,” she wrote in an Instagram post. “If only I could take his place today. Could I at least go with him in that operating room and hold his hand. Separating from him as he was wheeled off to surgery was heartbreaking. THATS MY BABY!”
The Basketball Wives star added: “I don’t care how old, how big, how grown my kids get I still want to protect them. I had no control over any of this. But there is a God, I trust and believe He is in there with my baby right now and has complete control.”
Her son confirmed that he would have surgery in September and previously told TMZ that he expects to make a full recovery and rejoin the UCLA Bruins next season.
“I’ll be back in no time,” O’Neal said.