In 1990, Hank Gathers was one of the best college basketball players in the country. His team, Loyola Marymount University, was the highest-scoring team in the nation. Professional basketball teams were fighting for the chance to draft him, which would make him a multi-millionaire at the age of 23. Late in his senior season, he was diagnosed with an abnormal heartbeat. A cardiologist prescribed a beta-blocker medication. But Gathers felt like the medicine affected his play. So he cut back on the medicine without consulting his doctor, and stopped attending check-ups. On most game-days, he wouldn’t take any of the medicine at all. In March of 1990, in a conference tournament game, Gathers took an alley-oop pass and brought it down with a tomahawk dunk. He then took a few steps down court and collapsed. He was dead before they could get him to the hospital. An autopsy revealed that he had a heart defect called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
Note: This isn't a light, cheerful sermon. In fact, it's likely to make some people angry. Some will find it intolerant and narrow-minded. Others will think it meddles in areas I should just stay out of. If you want to know why, be here Sunday! And pray that God will speak His truth to each of us.