Young Nigerian Basketball player dies of tuberculosis of the spine

Deborah Onu, Nigerian female basketball player
Deborah Onu, Nigerian female basketball player

A 16-year old promising Nigerian female basketball player Deborah Onu is dead.

She was due to write her Senior Secondary School examination in May/June 2020 and her basketball potentials suggest she could even be on her way to the United States afterwards, but what looks like a bright future has been truncated.

Widely seen as one of the rising prospects in the Nigerian basketball scene, Onu succumbed to the cold hands of death in the early hours of Saturday at an Abuja based hospital due to complications from tuberculosis of the spine.

The sad news was made public by the Secretary-General of the Nigerian Basketball Federation (NBBF), Afolabi-Oluwayemi Olabisi while briefing the board.

According to her, the late Deborah was responding to treatments after undergoing treatment at the intensive care unit of Primus Hospital, Karu before the sad incident.

She said: “We were told she showed marked improvements and was gradually being eased off life support before her condition took a turn for the worst overnight before giving up the ghost. This is very sad and painful.”

The past months have been a difficult one for 16-year old Onu whose demise might not be unconnected with the earlier wrong diagnosis of her ailment.

Instead of being treated for tuberculosis of the spine, Onu at different times across different health facilities was subjected to treatment for ulcer, typhoid, and even back pain as revealed by a close source to the family.

It was early in February 2020 that the right call for help was made for Onu to treat her of tuberculosis of the spine having been taken to Primus Hospital, Karu, where she is been handled by doctors from India.

Super Eagles midfielder, John Ogu, and some other kind-hearted donors were able to provide the funds needed for the treatment of the youngster.

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And according to family members, Onu was already responding positively to treatment before suddenly turning for the worse and giving up the ghost.

The NBBF President, Musa Kida, who was distraught by the news, lamented the loss of the promising and talented basketballer as such an unripe age.

He said: “Our thoughts are with the parents, coaches and teammates at these dark hours. We pray for her gentle soul to find repose with her creator while granting those she left behind the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss.”

“We are comforted that she died knowing that Nigerians cared for her. From the reports we gathered, she was wrongly diagnosed for months by different Doctors which made her case more complicated.”

Onu is a student of Government Secondary School, Karu, and hails from Nsukka in Enugu state.

She won the Milo Basketball Championship for her school twice for the Central Conference. She won gold in the Dream Sports Africa Competition as well as Gold in the Power Forward Basketball Competition and was also voted the Most Valuable Player.

Burial announcements will be announced by the family.

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