Virus Damaged Heart, Lewis’ Autopsy Finds

From Staff and Wire Reports

The death of Reggie Lewis, Boston Celtic captain, was the result of a viral infection severely damaging his heart, leaving him vulnerable to the kind of abnormal heart rhythm that killed him last July, according to his death certificate.

Stanton C. Kessler, the associate chief medical examiner of Massachusetts who signed the death certificate, told the New York Times that a virus was found in Lewis’ heart and it caused myocarditis, an inflammation that scars and enlarges the heart. Although the myocarditis had healed, Kessler told the newspaper that Lewis’ heart remained scared and enlarged when he collapsed and died while shooting baskets at Brandeis University in the Boston area.

The death certificate is expected to help clarify Lewis’ case. After he collapsed last April in a playoff game against the Charlotte Hornets, his condition became a highly publicized medical dispute among Boston doctors.

Lewis was examined by 12 experts who concluded that he suffered from a life-threatening disease that would most likely end his career. But he abruptly left their care to get another opinion.


That came from Gilbert H. Mudge, director of clinical cardiology at a Harvard teaching hospital, who said Lewis suffered from a benign neurological disorder.

Because of the differing views, Lewis had a team of L.A. specialists review the data. They were unable to determine which diagnosis was correct, but wanted Lewis monitored closely.

Kessler told the New York Times, “I found evidence of disease, lots of it.” The pathologist identified the virus as adenovirus type 2, one of several types viruses that can cause myocarditis.



The Detroit Pistons rejected a trade for Sacramento center Duane Causwell, saying he failed to pass a physical examination because of an unspecified problem. The failed physical means that center Olden Polynice and forward David Wood return to Detroit.

The NBA said that Roy Tarpley, who was banished in 1991 because of drug problems, has applied for reinstatement, and, at the request of his agent, the Dallas Mavericks have talked with their 7-foot center, who plays in Greece.


Third-seeded Michael Chang defeated No. 2 Jim Courier, 7-6 (8-6), 6-2, in the semifinals of the U.S. Indoor tournament at Philadelphia. Chang will face Paul Haarhuis, who has never won a singles title, in the final. Haarhuis defeated Jaime Yzaga, 6-3, 6-3. . . . Goran Ivanisevic defeated Boris Becker, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, and Stefan Edberg beat Sergi Bruguera, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, to reach the Eurocard Open final at Stuttgart, Germany. . . . Martina Navratilova made the final of the Paris women’s open with a 6-1, 6-3, victory over Leila Meshki. Navratilova will play Julie Halard, who beat Katerina Maleeva.



Johnny Miller will return to Augusta National as a player in April, gaining an invitation to play in the Masters after winning in the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

Marta Figueras-Dotti ended 11 years of frustration on the LPGA Tour with a victory in the Hawaiian Ladies Open at Ewa Beach. . . . George Archer had a second-round five-under-par 67 to take a two-stroke lead at a Senior PGA tournament in Naples, Fla.



Thomas Hearns (53-4-1) retained his North American Boxing Federation cruiserweight title by overcoming two knockdowns in a unanimous 12-round decision over Freddie Delgado at Charlotte, N.C. The victory set up a possible matchup of Hearns and Bobby Czyz (41-5), who won a 10-round unanimous decision over George O’Mara on the undercard.

Kennedy McKinney (26-0-1) of Memphis, Tenn., knocked out Jose Rincones (19-2-2) of Venezuela in the fifth round at Johannesburg, South Africa, and retained the International Boxing Federation super-bantamweight title.

Names in the News

Colombia’s team was encouraged when doctors said a knee cartilage tear suffered by midfielder Carlos Valderrama, 32, wasn’t as severe as feared and he should be ready for the World Cup.


The New England Patriots agreed to a four-year, $6.9-million contract with guard Bob Kratch.

Andy Neuer won his first Professional Bowlers Assn. title by defeating Walter Ray Williams Jr., 276-238, in a tournament at Richmond Heights, Mo.