Oklahoma offensive lineman Nila Kasitati knew something when he woke up that July morning. He was supposed to go through his usual workout, but he had no energy at all.
His ego told him not to saying anything. Growing up in a household with nine brothers had taught him to not to show weakness. But he was out of breath and could hardly keep his head up.
“Every little thing I did. Like just standing up, it felt like I’d ran a mile,” Kasitati said.
He went to the Sooners’ trainers who quickly got him to a doctor. Good thing they did. Kasitati was experiencing heart arrhythmia.
It’s a condition that causes the electrical impulses in the heart that coordinate the heartbeat to malfunction. The heart may be beating too fast, too slow or erratically. The condition can be fatal if untreated.
What was scary, was the July episode wasn’t the first time Kasitati had experienced the symptoms. Looking back on it, he’d been experiencing symptoms since junior high.
The treatment for the sophomore from Euless, Texas, was a simple surgery. The problem was the procedure needed to be done a week before the Sooners started preseason practice and it was going to take several weeks to heal.
The surgery was a success, and Kasitati returned to practice last week. Stamina hasn’t been an issue.
“His (issue) was a little bit of a coming back thing because he’d been off for about four or five weeks after surgery. He looks very good,” tackles and tight end coach Bruce Kittle said.
“I’m fine,” he said following Monday’s practice. “The surgery was a success so I’m good right now. There’s nothing holding me back from being better or getting a chance to play.”
Captains named: OU named its captains for the upcoming season on Monday. Quarterback Landry Jones and center Gabe Ikard will represent the offense. Defensive lineman David King will represent the defense. Punter Tress Way will represent the special teams and fullback Trey Millard got the nod for his play on offense and special teams.
The captains were picked by a vote of the Sooners’ players and the coaching staff.
Ready to run: The coaching staff has been cautious with senior running back Dominique Whaley throughout the preseason. He’s been kept out of scrimmages and his reps in practice have been somewhat limited.
OU coach Bob Stoops said the measures have all been precautionary. After preseason camp, he has no doubt Whaley has fully recovered from the ankle injury that knocked him out midway through last season.
“It’s hard to say if he’s 100 percent, but he sure looks it,” Stoops said after Monday’s practice. “I don’t know if he could tell you. He feels the same. I think he looks the same. I think he’s pretty much there and ready to go.”
No updates: Stoops had no updates to offer on the status of wide receiver Jalen Saunders or if decisions had been made about which freshmen will redshirt.
Saunders, who transferred in from Fresno State is still waiting to see if the NCAA will grant his waiver to let him play this season. Transfers from one FBS school to another typically have to sit out one season before they become eligible.
“I think we’ll know something toward the middle or end of the week,” Stoops said.
As far as redshirting goes, the coaching staff discussed players on Monday, but no decisions have been made.
“We intend to play all of them. Come game week we’ll see who ends up in the game and who doesn’t,” Stoops said.
John Shinn 366-3536 firstname.lastname@example.org