Sean Baker has proven that no obstacle or set back will stop him being able to play basketball. The 15-year-old rising star, who last year represented North Queensland at the Australian Junior Championships, was forced to put his dreams of playing professional basketball on hold after suffering a cardiac arrest during a warm-up for a basketball game in July last year.
Sean had to undergo extensive surgery, where he had an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) implanted in his chest and was unable to lift his left arm for 2 months post-op. Following his surgery, Sean underwent intensive rehabilitation to aid his recovery and was given the ‘all clear’ 3 months later by doctors after there were no serious concerns from doctors in his scans and reports.
Sean’s main motivation during his rehabilitation process was being able to return to the court. After gaining full mobility post-surgery (2 months later), and with the help of Mackay rep coach Ian Haughton, Sean slowly started getting back into basketball. However, it was still a long journey to return to playing competitive basketball, with the basketball community still very hesitant to allow Sean to come back and play after such a major health scare and at the time no recent studies saying that his health issues could not reoccur.
The turning point came in May this year, when Sean’s Mother, Katie Baker found a study by a group of American cardiologists that changed the recommendations for athletes with ICDs. Following this new information, and with high hopes of making the Under 18 North Queensland State Team as a bottom-ager, Sean was given the green light from Basketball Queensland to return to basketball.
“It’s crazy, phenomenal, it feels like a dream! I didn’t think I would potentially be able to play again so I am very grateful and happy” he said.
Upon returning to the game, Sean returned to playing at his local club in Mackay, the Renegades, and quickly regained his competitive edge, going from scoring 2 points in his first game, to 22 points in his second.
Sean’s determination to succeed has been more than evident in his return to the court, and hasn’t gone unnoticed, with the teenager being selected along with 9 other Queensland athletes to attend the Australian Development Camp (ADC) at the Centre of Excellence in Canberra which took place in October and also returning to the Mackay Meteors Under 18 Representative Team.
Basketball Queensland’s Game Development Manager, Leonard King saying “Sean’s return to basketball has been extraordinary, the dedication, skill resilience he has shown upon his return to basketball make him very deserving of his achievements!
With such a strong comeback to the game, it’s safe to say Sean Baker is back and here to stay.