'This can't be happening': Bronny James' USC teammates recount moment of his cardiac arrest

Bronny James' college basketball career is well underway, making it easy to forget that LeBron James' oldest son is fewer than six months removed from a cardiac arrest he suffered on July 24.

But a new report from the Southern California News Group sheds light on how frightening the situation was at the time for Bronny's USC teammates and coaches.

Trojans head coach Andy Enfield and assistant coach Eric Mobley were supervising a summer workout with Bronny and several other USC players. During a break, Mobley turned to talk to Bronny's bodyguard. Then, as the workout was set to resume, Mobley heard a thump on the ground behind him — Bronny.

"I think it was just confusion," said USC senior forward D.J. Rodman told the SCNG. "That’s all it was. Like, what just happened?"

For many members of USC's team, it was sadly a too familiar sight. Rodman, in his first season with the Trojans after transferring from Washington State, had seen two different teammates deal with medical emergencies, at least one of which was heart-related, during his time with the Cougars. 

Several other Trojans only had to go back to the previous summer, when then-freshman forward Vincent Iwuchukwu suffered a cardiac arrest in eerily similar circumstances on July 1, 2022. Like Bronny, Iwuchukwu has since recovered and is now a key part of the Trojans' squad.

"I was like, this can’t be happening again," USC senior guard Boogie Ellis told SCNG.

However, the past experience of dealing with Iwuchukwu's emergency prepared USC to do what was needed to help Bronny, per the SCNG.

"It was just poetry in motion," Mobley told the newspaper. "Like, we’ve been there and done that before, which we have. And they had the defibrillator in probably less than 30 seconds. … We just tried to make sure [Bronny’s] getting back, come back to consciousness. But you can tell that he was hearin’ what we were saying. He just couldn’t move or come out of his — it was like he was trapped in a box, you know?"

But once Bronny was revived, it was like he never collapsed. Multiple USC team members who were present for the incident told the SCNG that Bronny had to be told to stay in the gym, sit down and wait for the ambulance that had been called and was upset he could not finish practice.

Bronny's recovery process culminated in his college debut against Long Beach State on Dec. 10. Enfield said the entire Trojans team "has been through a lot emotionally, Bronny the most." 

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The Trojans are struggling through an 8-11 season despite a plethora of top-end talent, but Iwuchukwu has a unique perspective on his teammate and fellow former top recruit.

"I’m kinda glad it happened to me," he told the SCNG, "so I’m able to help [Bronny] out, whatever situations that he has going on, because I know it’s not easy to get back."

Bronny is averaging 5.9 points, 2.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game in 11 games for the Trojans this season.

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