Shareef O’Neal, son of Shaquille and Shaunie O’Neal, is currently undergoing heart surgery to correct a heart condition that will cause him to miss the entire 2018-2019 basketball season AT UCLA.
Mom Shaunie took to Instagram earlier today to request for prayers for her son. She wrote, “This morning was by far my toughest moment being a Mom. If only I could take his place today. Could I at least go with him in that operating room and hold his hand. Separating from him as he was wheeled off to surgery was heartbreaking. THATS MY BABY! I don’t care how old, how big, how grown my kids get I still want to protect them. I had no control over any of this. But there is a God, I trust and believe He is in there with my baby right now and has complete control.#prayforreef @shareefoneal #mybaby.”
Shareef revealed in September that he learned about his medical condition during a routine checkup with UCLA doctors.
“Recently I found out I had a serious heart issue … I am very blessed to be here living today, one of those moments on the court could’ve been my last breathe .. I will not be able to participate in sports this year but I will be back in no time … I want to thank god for looking out for me , I want to thank UCLA , my teammates and most importantly my family,” he wrote in an Instagram post.
O’Neal plans to stay enrolled in school and take classes while recovering from surgery. The 6-foot-10 forward was recruited to UCLA as a four-star prospect. He was ranked ninth in his position in the class of 2018 and 32nd on the ESPN 100.