Some observers initially suspected that the Basketball Hall-of-Famer may have been involved in the release of Otto Warmbier, a University of Virginia student detained a year ago for allegedly stealing a political propaganda poster, a crime against the state.
His parents learned of their son's condition - what North Korea called a coma - only last week, they said in a statement.
The US student released by North Korea this week has damage to all parts of his brain, doctors said Thursday.
During a Thursday press conference, Otto Warmbier's father, Fred Warmbier, appealed to North Korea to release the three other Americans now imprisoned there. He said they traveled to Washington and met with Ambassador Yun who more aggressively pursued Otto's release.
One reporter asked if Warmbier thought the Obama administration could have done more for Otto, and the teary-eyed father responded critically, saying, "The results speak for themselves".
The American student from the University of Virginia said he had been encouraged to take the banner as a trophy for a U.S. church that had offered to pay him for it.
North Korea accuses the United States of plotting with regional allies to topple its government.
Warmbier's future care and treatment will be kept confidential out of respect for the family, Kanter said.
"I've got nothing from my experiences with him that would suggest he would do something like that", Gratton said.
The Warmbier family told The Washington Post's Anna Fifield that the North Koreans told them Otto was stricken with botulism after his trial, took a sleeping pill, and had not woken up since.
"Every once in a while, [North Korea's government] single [s] out someone to make a point, and this was just Otto's turn", Gratton said.
Ellie Boettcher, a 14-year-old rising freshman at Wyoming High, where Warmbier's sister will be a sophomore, said students were elated.
Fred Warmbier praised the Trump administration's handling of the situation.
The director of communications for the medical center said that Otto is in stable condition, but has suffered a severe neurological injury.
But that wasn't the only gift Rodman brought for North Korea's leader.
Warmbier's father, Fred, said the same thing at the press conference. He says his son was living in a "pariah regime" in North Korea. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison with hard labor for subversion after he tearfully confessed that he had tried to steal a propaganda banner.
He called on North Korea to release other American detainees. "We are so grateful that he will finally be with people who love him".
With the emplacement of the THAAD anti-missile system in South Korea and increased pressure from the Chinese (at the behest of President Trump), North Korea is feeling the pressure.
Doctors in Cincinnati who are treating the American college student released by North Korea in a coma say he has severe injury to all regions of his brain.