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Utah PG Glen Dean underwent brain surgery last December

Oct 22, 2012, 1:10 PM EDT

Larry Krystkowiak

Glen Dean could very well end up being the starting point guard for Larry Krystkowiak’s when Utah’s season begins next month.

And while that is a special moment for any player, it means for for Dean. while redshirting last season after transferring into the program from Eastern Washington, Dean nearly had his career — and his life — ended.

What started as nothing more than a headache and a couple of days sitting out of practice eventually led to emergency brain surgery for a broken blood vessel and a lengthy stay in the ICU.

The details, as chronicled by Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune, are quite scary.

Never had Dean felt so weak, so out of control. He remembers the loss of eyesight, the blurry vision. Jason Washburn asking him if he was OK. Jiggy Watkins checking up on him after practice. Dean couldn’t make out their faces, but he could tell them apart by voice recognition.

Once he crossed the street with Aaron Dotson. He couldn’t see the cars, so Dotson had to guide him, almost like walking a blind man.

“We all thought he was joking at first, and we didn’t really take it seriously,” Dotson said. “Once we realized that something was wrong, it became pretty scary for all of us.”

The ruptured vessel was causing Dean intense headaches and dizziness. He was light-headed and nauseated. Loud noises were too much for him. Eventually, Dean couldn’t sit on the bench for more than the first half of last season’s game against BYU.

Situations like this terrify me. There was nothing Dean could do to prevent this from happening, and there was nothing he could do to identify that he had a potentially-fatal issue in his brain. As he put it, “Anything that was strenuous to me at the time could’ve triggered it.”

Luckily, doctors were able to help Dean before a setback for an athlete became a tragedy for a family.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

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