BYU basketball signee Nick Emery returns home from LDS mission because of medical condition

By Jeff Call, Deseret News

Published: Wed, Aug. 6, 2014, 6:50 p.m. MDT

 Nick Emery signs a basketball as he and his teammates from the Lone Peak High School basketball team, the top ranked high school team in the nation, visit the State Capitol Building in Salt Lake City Friday, March 8, 2013.

Nick Emery signs a basketball as he and his teammates from the Lone Peak High School basketball team, the top ranked high school team in the nation, visit the State Capitol Building in Salt Lake City Friday, March 8, 2013.

(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

A pre-existing medical condition has forced former Lone Peak star, and BYU basketball signee, Nick Emery to return from his LDS Church mission in Frankfurt, Germany.

Jackson Emery, a former Cougar basketball standout, and Nick’s older brother, posted a message on his Twitter account that Nick would be back home from his mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Wednesday night.

“(Nick) received a medical release from his mission to deal with an ongoing issue that he had pre-mission,” Jackson Emery wrote Wednesday. “He will be tested and from there they will determine the diagnosis and if he needs surgery. Thanks for your support and prayers.”

Nick Emery has been suffering from thoracic outlet syndrome, according to an Emery family blog.

“Elder Emery has recently been dealing with worsening conditions of thoracic outlet syndrome. He has undergone testing and examinations and several doctors and specialists have been consulted about his condition," the blog said. "His mission president, President Stoddard (a medical doctor), and area church medical doctors concluded that he needs to have treatment sooner than later to correct these issues or they will continue to worsen. Elder Emery has been given a medical release and will be returning home on Wednesday, Aug. 6 for treatment which may possibly include surgery. He should make a full recovery and we ask that you remember him in your prayers.”

Thoracic outlet syndrome is caused when blood vessels or nerves in the space between the collarbone and first rib become compressed, according to the Mayo Clinic website.

“This can cause pain in your shoulders and neck and numbness in your fingers,” according to the website. “Common causes of thoracic outlet syndrome include physical trauma from a car accident, repetitive injuries from job- or sports-related activities, certain anatomical defects (such as having an extra rib), and pregnancy. Sometimes doctors can't determine the cause of thoracic outlet syndrome.”

Treatment for thoracic outlet syndrome “involves physical therapy and pain relief measures,” according to the Mayo Clinic. “In some cases, however, your doctor may recommend surgery.”

Emery helped lead Lone Peak to the MaxPreps national championship in 2013. He entered the Missionary Training Center in May 2013, and was planning on joining the Cougar basketball team in 2015.

BYU basketball spokesman Kyle Chilton said Wednesday night the program wasn't planning to address the situation at this time.

1. Sports Nutz
Smithfield, UT,
Aug. 6, 2014

As a USU fan it's tough to ever root for anyone at byu, but having had similar neck problems I am wishing the best for Nick. Hopefully, he will have a long basketball career. Good luck Nick.

2. RockOn
Spanish Fork, UT,
Aug. 6, 2014

That's sad and tough. Thank you, Elder, for your service. You blessed people's lives. Best wishes in your recovery.

3. Captain L
Provo, UT,
Aug. 6, 2014

I hope he can have surgery and recuperate quickly, does any one know anything about this condition and the prognosis??

4. souptwins
Lindon, UT,
Aug. 6, 2014

Sorry to hear about the medical issue for Nick. I'm sure he blessed many lives in the year he served. Good job, Elder!!
I am curious how this will be handled as far as basketball goes. Will he have to use a red shirt year should he enroll in school? Will the treatments/surgery allow him to attend school? I would imagine it would not allow him to play ball. Whatever those details are, good luck to him in getting it taken care of and completely healed.

5. bigirish
Aug. 7, 2014

Seems like the first question that would have been addressed is what BYU fans are thinking - can he still play basketball with the condition or with whatever treatment it takes to resolve it if possible, therapy, surgery or what - and how long the recovery. Or am I ahead of the game? Can't help but think about this though, and hope for his complete recovery. Stuff happens, even on missions. I had a son come home early with undiagnosed depression and bi-polar, a pre-mission condition but not evident until the stresses of missionary work and language learning and which is harder to take care of, as a mental health condition, not physical like Nick's. How soon can this question be addressed about Nick at this time, or how much time will it take, how much medical attention, to talk about future prospects?