Gugliotta Released from Hospital
Dec. 18, 1999
By BOB BAUM,
PHOENIX (AP) - Phoenix Suns forward Tom Gugliotta was released from a Portland, Ore., hospital Saturday and was returning to Arizona for further tests to try to determined what caused his seizure on a team bus Friday night.
Gugliotta, an alumnus of NC State, underwent a series of tests at Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland and none showed any reason for the incident, which occurred about 45 minutes after the Suns beat the Portland Trail Blazers.
"All of the tests that he's had, which are the typical, routine tests you have for someone who's had a seizure - the CAT scans, the EKG's, the lab work - everything is completely normal at this time," Suns team physician Richard Emerson said during a news conference Saturday night. "So the good news is that Tom is feeling very good, although somewhat fatigued.
"What we can't tell you is what caused it. Sometimes you never know what causes these things."
Gugliotta was flying home with his wife, Nikki, and assistant trainer Aaron Nelson on Saturday night. Emerson said he planned to examine Gugliotta at the player's home later Saturday night, with further tests planned in the coming days.
"Barring anything else that may happen, we assume he's going to be ready to play as soon as we can get him checked out after he's here," Emerson said.
Suns owner Jerry Colangelo said he spoke with Gugliotta by telephone Saturday morning.
"He woke up at four this morning and didn't know where he was," Colangelo said. "They had a tube in his trachea so that he would breathe, and I guess that's a little scary to wake up and find yourself in a hospital bed. Then he went back to sleep. When I spoke to him he had just awakened and he was very relieved, and he sounded very coherent to me."
Gugliotta does not have a history of seizures or any other health problems. He had started all 22 games for the Suns this season and was second on the team in minutes played.
He had 17 points and 14 rebounds Friday night in the Suns' 110-102 victory over the Trail Blazers and seemed fine as he answered questions in the locker room afterward.
He and several other players had boarded the bus in the loading bay at the Rose Garden arena when he suffered the seizure. The other players were told to get off the bus while paramedics came to Gugliotta's aide.
The Suns' Oliver Miller said he was upset with how slowly the paramedics responded.
"They were walking to the bus," Miller said. "They told me later they didn't realize how serious it was."
Gugliotta was taken by stretcher to an ambulance for the short ride to the hospital.
"I was yelling at him 'Hang in there Googs! Hang in there!"' Miller said. "I doubt if he heard me."
Emerson said Gugliotta was barely breathing as he was rushed to the hospital. He praised the work of the Portland medical team and said it was fortunate the seizure did not occur later on the team plane, where there would be no equipment or personnel to do what was necessary to revive him. No sports team travels with such equipment, Emerson said.
Emerson said the tests already conducted have ruled out many serious possibilities.
"He doesn't have a brain tumor. There's no evidence of any malignancy or any other mass in the brain or the central nervous system that would stimulate something like this," Emerson said. "There certainly isn't any major arterial or vascular abnormality so far that would account for a brain activity."
Gugliotta, who played in the 1997 All-Star game while with the Minnesota Timberwolves, signed with Phoenix before the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season. He and Suns teammate Jason Kidd are members of the U.S. national team that is scheduled to compete in next year's Olympic Games.
He is averaging 14.1 points and leads the team in rebounding at 6.7. He has career averages of 16.6 points and 8.8 rebounds in eight seasons with Washington, Golden State, Minnesota and Phoenix.
The Suns have been through a tumultuous week that began on Monday when coach Danny Ainge resigned and was replaced by his top assistant Scott Skiles.
"It's been a messed-up week," Miller said.