Star Lotulelei, a top NFL prospect considered likely to go in the top five in April’s draft, has been diagnosed with a heart condition.
Lotulelei will be kept out workouts with other defensive linemen at the 2013 NFL combine after an echocardiogram revealed a heart condition, ESPN reported. The NFL prospect will now need further testing to determine the severity and extent of the condition.
ESPN correspondent Chris Mortensen learned that Star Lotulelei’s EKG showed his left ventricle pumping blood at an efficiency rate of 44 percent. The normal range is 55 to 70 percent. Lotulelei is now headed to Salt Lake City, Utah, for more testing, Yahoo! Sports noted.
The NFL prospect’s heart condition could cause his draft stock to plummet. As a high draft pick, Lotulelei would have been guaranteed a top-flight contract, but teams are wary to spend on a player with an uncertain future.
From Yahoo! Sports:
“In the 2011 NFL Draft, Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers was projected to be among the first five selections, but concerns over his surgically-repaired knee knocked him out of the first entirely, landing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the middle of the second round. Instead of signing a four-year, fully guaranteed worth between $18.4 million to $22.025 million, Bowers signed a contract worth a total of $3.855 million with $2.229 million in guarantees.”
Lotulelei was able to put up impressive numbers at Utah despite starting only two years. He had 107 tackles, seven sacks, and 21.5 tackles for a loss, earning All-Pac 12 first-team honors twice. In 2011, Lotulelei was named Pac-12 defensive lineman of the year, an award voted on by the conference’s offensive linemen.
The NFL prospect will not be entirely sidelined by the heart condition. Star Lotulelei’s agent said he will be ready to conduct a full workout on pro day, March 20.