Travis Adams

Travis Adams, who helped Barrow High School capture two Class 3A boys state basketball titles, has stepped away from the University of Alaska Anchorage men’s basketball team because of a chronic back problem.

He suffers from spondylolisthesis, a condition in which one vertebrae slips forward over another. In most cases, according to WebMD (webmd.com), the condition occurs at the base of the spine.

Adams, in a statement in a UAA news release Wednesday, said that he’s had an aching in his back for as long as he’s played competitive basketball. 

“However, my last year of college as well as this summer leading up to this season, the pain was unbearable,’’ Adams said in the news release.

“I decided that I should get it checked, hoping there would be a way to fix my injury.

“Spondylolisthesis is what I have, and my doctor told me the only way to fix my back fully would be to get surgery. It was an incredibly tough decision to decide not to get back surgery because I knew that meant I would not have the opportunity to play basketball at full strength.

“I ultimately decided that I would, for the time being, step away from collegiate basketball and focus on strengthening my back. I am not sure what the future has in store for me; however, I have decided to put my basketball career on hold.” 

As a true freshman guard last season for the Seawolves, the 5-foot-10 native of Utqiagvik played in 27 of 28 games. Adams averaged 14.6 minutes and was second for UAA with 2.6 assists per game.

He finished the season ranked fifth in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference with a 2.6-1 assist/turnover ratio.

“Travis has been a ‘true Seawolf’ and represented UAA, Anchorage, Barrow High and the State of Alaska with class, dignity and contagious passion for the game,’’ Rusty Osborne, UAA men’s basketball head coach, said in the release. “I will truly miss our daily interactions, but pray he can find some relief from his ongoing discomfort.”

Osborne said the Seawolves program had been aware of Adams’ back issues.

“And our trainers did an excellent job of helping him manage last season,’’ Osborne said. “Although we did not foresee him stepping away, we understand and support his decision.

“This is a ‘quality of life’ decision and only he can determine what that means to his body.”