The towering height that helped 20-year-old Isaiah Austin shoot to the top ranks of the NBA draft this year also was a symptom of the genetic disorder that, less than one month ago, ended his pro career before it began.
But the 7-foot-1-inch Baylor University student counts himself lucky — at least it didn't end his life.
Austin learned he has Marfan syndrome thanks to a blood test administered during the NBA draft process. Sometimes the diagnosis of the connective tissue disorder — which can cause the aorta, the main vessel that carries blood from the heart, to grow until it bursts — comes too late.
"It's hard when your dream is taken from you,...