Kaseem Vauls, a 21-year-old defensive lineman from Jackson State’s football team in 2022, suffered cardiac arrest Wednesday morning, prompting doctors to resuscitate him and put him on a ventilator, according to a series of tweets from his father, William.
William told The Clarion-Ledger that Vauls was in stable condition — “but still critical,” he added — as of Thursday night. Vauls went into the University of Mississippi Medical Center on Tuesday night with stomach pains and suffered cardiac arrest Wednesday morning.
Vauls was placed on a ventilator and underwent surgery later that afternoon. He’s still “heavily sedated.” A cardiologist informed William that Vauls’ heart was only functioning at around 10-15%, he told The Clarion-Ledger.
“What the doctors think happened, that when Kaseem’s heart was failing, that what was giving him the stomach pains,” William told The Clarion-Ledger. “His liver was suffering as fluid built up with toxins in his liver, kidneys and blood. All those toxins built up in his blood stream and his heart could not operate properly and the machine is being used to clean out the blood and toxins.”
The Clarion-Ledger reported that Vauls had been participating in workouts with Jackson State football, which his Twitter account also showcased via videos from the weight room. But William told the outlet that Vauls hadn’t informed anyone about the stomach pains.
William tweeted the original news — as well as periodic updates — from his son’s Twitter account, and he asked Jackson State athletes, alumni and faculty to pray or visit his son, providing Vauls’ location in the hospital’s intensive care unit as well as William’s cell phone number. He also asked for help contacting Jackson State head coach T.C. Taylor and assistant head coach/tight ends coach Otis Riddley.
Late Thursday morning, William issued an update on Twitter, noting that doctors said Vauls is “progressing” and will gradually lower his medication and “input of the machine.” William, who was traveling to Jackson from South Carolina, told The Clarion-Ledger that he has been provided a hotel for five nights.
“The machine is so his organs can rest and not work so hard,” William tweeted. “Then they will lower down the sedation so he can wake up on his own but that might be until day 4 on the machine.”
Vauls transferred to Jackson State after redshirting his first year at Alabama A&M, but he didn’t appear in a game during the 2022 season. The 6-foot-1, 250-pound lineman from Columbia, S.C. was a three-star edge recruit out of Irmo High School, according to his 247sports page.
Vauls’ medical emergency comes about six weeks after Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest on the field during a “Monday Night Football” game against the Bengals. He was given CPR on the field and taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center following the harrowing scene, undergoing a recovery that united the football community and helped raise millions of dollars for his toy drive fundraiser — in addition to increasing awareness for CPR training.