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Florida Gators AD Scott Stricklin shares some good news on Keyontae Johnson

Keyontae Johnson continues to improve after collapsing in Florida's basketball against Florida...
Keyontae Johnson continues to improve after collapsing in Florida's basketball against Florida State.(AP)
Published: Dec. 16, 2020 at 2:57 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Keyontae Johnson continues to improve.

In an interview with ESPN Gainesville, Gators Athletic Director Scott Stricklin said Johnson is now sitting up, having good conversations, laughing and smiling.

“First off, let me say the information we’re getting about Keyontae has been really, really positive in the last 48 hours,” Stricklin said on the radio. “Everybody saw what his parents put out yesterday. I actually had a chance (to visit him). I was in Dallas at CFP meetings and got back late yesterday afternoon, was able to go straight to the hospital. Had a chance to see him. He was actually awake. He was actually sitting up in a chair. You could tell he’s still been sedated, so he was still a little groggy, but he thanked me for coming by. It was good to see him and sitting up, he had family in there, his parents and others.

“I’m told today that he’s even progressed a lot since then, that he’s having good conversations with his doctors, with his coaches,” the Florida athletics director said. “He’s smiling and laughing. Still undergoing more tests. I think the tests that have gotten back so far have been positive from a medical standpoint. His prognosis seems to be trending in the right direction, but we still have a lot of questions. The medical folks have a lot of questions they want to make sure they get answered.”

This is great news for the Gators forward who collapsed during Florida basketball’s game against Florida State on Saturday. It is still unclear why Johnson did collapse during the game.

In a statement on Tuesday, Johnson’s parents, Nika and Marrecus Johnson, released their own statement saying their son is stable and breathing on his own. Johnson has even FaceTimed his teammates.

During the interview, Stricklin also took a few minutes to thank Florida State for their help and kindness over the weekend.

“I also want to take this time -- and we’re going to do it in a more formal way -- but, we love to have the rivalry we have with FSU, but the way their folks responded and stepped up was really huge Saturday,” Stricklin said. “Everything from their medical people on site jumping in, their president John Thrasher actually went to the hospital himself to see the family and he called UF president Kent Fuchs to update him on what he was hearing.

“Just the whole FSU community was, they were really special during this time and we have great appreciation for them doing this and showing that, at the end of the day, this is just a game. There are bigger things in sports.”

The University took to social media on Monday evening thanking fans for their support. Johnson’s parents are with him at UF Health Shands, and Florida says fans can send their well wishes to Johnson and his family.

“The one thing I told Key when I saw him yesterday is he has no idea the number of people who have been lifting him up in prayer and sending along good thoughts,” Stricklin said. “He needed to know how much he was loved, not just by Gators, I mean people all over the sporting community in the state of Florida and beyond have really lifted him up.”

In the statement, the program says many people have reached out to offer assistance, and the university will make known any needs that he and his family might have “as things become more clear”.

A P.O. box was set up for anyone who may want to send letters or cards. The address is P.O. BOX 14485 Gainesville, FL 32604 C/O UF administration.

Florida’s game against North Florida has been cancelled. Stricklin says there is still no decision on whether the game against Florida Atlantic will play as scheduled on Saturday. Decision will likely come on Thursday - the players will have a voice in the decision.

We will continue to have updates on his condition as soon as it becomes available.

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