Jan. 16, 2006
SEATTLE - Washington senior Kayla Burt announced Monday that her playing career with the Husky women's basketball team has come to an end. The decision was reached through a mutual agreement between Burt, her doctors and UW athletic department following information obtained regarding the cause for the activation of her internal heart defibrillator during Washington's game against UCLA, Jan. 12.
After being admitted to the University of Washington Medical Center Thursday night and undergoing a variety of tests through Friday, it was determined that the defibrillator shocked Burt's heart due to an arrhythmia and was not caused by a malfunction or damage to the device. The defibrillator performed just as it was designed - to emit an electrical shock to the heart when an abnormality was detected.
Doctors did not find any damage to Burt's heart but the dangerous rhythm she experienced raised concern due to the fact the cardiac arrest she suffered almost exactly three years ago was now not an isolated incident.
"Kayla has and will continue to serve as an inspiration to people everywhere," UW Athletics Director Todd Turner said. "Her courage and determination to overcome the challenges she has faced have earned her a very special place in the hearts of all Husky fans."
Burt had the defibrillator implanted in the right side of her chest following a cardiac arrest she suffered on New Year's Eve, 2002. Burt was diagnosed with a heart condition called Long Q-T Syndrome and announced her initial retirement from basketball on January 6, 2003.
Burt remained with the team for the remainder of the 2002-03 season and the entire 2003-04 season as a student assistant coach. During that time she underwent additional testing that included two trips to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota to find out more information about her heart condition. It was determined that it was unlikely she had Long Q-T Syndrome and instead was diagnosed with idiopathic ventricular fibrillation meaning doctors could not determine the cause of her arrest.
With that new information, Burt expressed her desire to return to playing basketball and officially rejoined the Huskies in August, 2004. In her first season back last year, Burt led UW in scoring (9.6 ppg), assists (2.9 apg), free-throw shooting percentage (75.8) and free-throws made (69).
She earned Pac-10 Player of the Week honors the last week of the season after scoring a career-high 23 points at Arizona (Feb. 26, 2005). She also was named to the WBCA BTI Classic All-Tournament Team.
Burt's courageous comeback earned her national recognition. In March of 2005, she was named the recipient of the V Foundation Comeback Award. She was also a nominee for the 2005 ESPY for Best Comeback.
This year as a senior, Burt came off the bench in 15 games, averaging 6.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists. She also led the team with 20 three-pointers made. She reached double-figures in scoring three times, including a season-high 14 points in the Husky Classic Championship game versus Rice.