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Erik Spoelstra witnessed Hank Gathers' horrific collapse, would he risk playing Chris Bosh?

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Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was on the court in Hank Gathers' last game and dares not relive that tragic experience.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Bosh's situation brings to mind the deaths of Hank Gathers and "Pistol" Pete Maravich while on the basketball court. The question of Bosh's return to the high-risk world of professional sports has escalated because of social media to the point where people with no medical expertise whatsoever are having their say as if they were knowledgeable in the area.

According to ESPN,

"[Gathers] was treated with Inderal, one of a class of beta blocker drugs that inhibits the effects of adrenaline and smoothes the heart's rhythms. But Gathers detested the drug. He agonized over having to take it. The drug made him sluggish, moody. His game suffered. He was unable to run the court without getting tired. His shot was off. He'd get woozy at times. He'd sleep longer."

"Gathers continually complained to his coaches and doctors about the drug, that the dosage had to be reduced. They said no. So gradually, Gathers began cutting down on the dosage, and began feeling much better. He also began skipping some of the required testing. He was playing a risky game."

The problem here is when athletes become their own doctors and "play a risky game," which involves not only them but their families, friends, teams and fans. Collapses from medical conditions can come even after the players themselves say they feel "great," as related by Steve Aschburner on the passing of Maravich,

"Everything seemed normal that morning in the gymnasium at the First Church of the Nazarene in Pasadena....They played three-on-three for about 20 minutes and took a break. Drollinger walked to a drinking fountain and then Maravich — standing near Dobson, and just after proclaiming 'I feel great' — collapsed."

Per Wikipedia, "[Gathers] collapsed a yard or two away from Pilots point guard Erik Spoelstra." Having gone through that experience once is one too many times for Spoelstra. The disturbing video below shows Erik at that faithful game.

The Bosh matter drawing uninformed opinions from people who do not have all the facts is counterproductive to the entire issue, since from outward appearances, both Gathers and Maravich publicly said they felt fine. Perhaps the video above might serve as a reminder of how this matter is too serious for public debate, and should be settled privately between the involved parties.