USC football alum Cameron Smith discovers heart condition after COVID-19 positive test

USC foootball linebacker Cameron Smith. (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
USC foootball linebacker Cameron Smith. (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

Former USC football linebacker Cameron Smith has to undergo open-heart surgery.

These are scary times for former USC football star Cameron Smith.

The Minnesota Vikings linebacker posted on Instagram a double-whammy of an update.

Firstly, he tested positive for COVID-19. Second, testing as a result of contracting the virus led doctors to discover a congenital heart problem that requires open-heart surgery.

USC football’s Cameron Smith will miss the 2020 NFL season.

Here is what Smith had to say on Instagram:

"“Earlier this week I found out I need open heart surgery to fix a bicuspid aortic valve that I was born with. Although this will unfortunately end my 2020 season, it is really a blessing that we found this as my heart is severely enlarged and wouldn’t have lasted much longer. I found this out after I tested positive for COVID and had to have further testing done as protocol. The Lord works in mysterious ways, but I could really feel him on this one!?? There is a surgery that will allow me to continue to play football as soon as I am healed and cleared and I didn’t think twice about going with that one. By no means am I ready to be done playing football, there is still so much more I want to accomplish on the field. Im going to attack this like everything else I have in life. Already looking forward to the comeback!"

The Vikings put Smith on their Reserve/COVID-19 list on July 29. He will obviously stay on injured reserve for much longer than a COVID-19 quarantine would require.

Congenital heart conditions are one of the scariest underlying issues for athletes as they often lie beneath the surface unrealized until the worst occurs. Fortunately for Smith, the misfortune of contracting COVID-19 may have been the thing that saves him.

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Smith had 354 tackles during his USC career, leading USC in that mark for three consecutive seasons. It might have been four if an injury hadn’t knocked him out of his true freshman campaign. He’d emerged as an unlikely starter and maintained the top spot on the tackle chart until his injury.

He’d go on to return from that injury even better. He was a Midseason All-American first-team selection in 2017, finishing the campaign as an All-Pac-12 first-teamer after helping to lead USC to the Pac-12 title.

His senior campaign in 2018 was disappointing from a team perspective, but he was still the Trojan team MVP and finished 15th nationally in solo tackles despite missing the better part of three games with a hamstring problem.

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The Minnesota Vikings picked up Smith in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. While he didn’t make the 53-man roster, he was signed to the practice squad and ultimately saw action in five games.

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