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16-Year-Old Wes Leonard Hits Game-Winning Shot, Dies Moments Later (Video)

by: JamieD On  Friday, March 4, 2011

It pains us to bring you such a sad story as we head into the weekend.

Moments after hitting the game-winning basket in overtime to give his Fennville Middle School (Michigan) varsity basketball team a 57-55 victory over Bridgman, Wes Leonard collapsed on the court.  A parent at the game immediately began performing CPR on Wes, who was rushed to a hospital by emergency responders.  They continued to administer CPR on the 16-year-old freshman, but to no avail.  He was pronounced dead at 10:40 pm Thursday night.  An autopsy has since revealed that Leonard died from “cardiac arrest due to dilated cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart).”

The following statement has since been released by Dirk Weeldreyer, the superintendent of Fennville Public Schools:

“Last night was a long and emotional night. Our community is shocked and stunned. First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with the Leonard family. We can’t even begin to imagine their grief, and our hearts ache for them. Wes Leonard was the quintessential all-American kid. He had a great grin and was always cheerful. Younger kids throughout the community looked up to him and idolized him. Wes was strong and powerful. As the quarterback of our championship football team, he could throw a dart forty yards down the field. He had the body of a linebacker, but brought the ball up the floor for our 20-0 basketball team. Beyond his outstanding athletic abilities, Wes was a better person. His fellow students liked and respected him. Their grief speaks volumes about the high regard in which Wes was held. The statements issued by Holland Hospital last night represent all that we know at this time pertaining to the medical details. Following the news of Wes’ passing, Fennville Methodist Church was open through the night and many students and Fennville community members gathered there to grieve together. We know that this tragedy will have an impact today here at school. Our district crisis team met early this morning and we have held staff meetings in each of our buildings. We have a number of grief counselors who are available for students throughout the day. I’d like to thank all the other Allegan County school districts who have sent counselors to be on hand to assist our students today — we very much appreciate their support. Many other schools and counseling organizations have also reached out with offers of assistance and we will utilize them as necessary. We will be releasing information as it becomes available to us through our Fennville Public Schools Facebook page at www.facebook.com/fennvillepublicschools.” [WoodTV]

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Wes Leonard. It is sad incidents like this that help us realize the value of living every day of our lives to the fullest. Wes did just that, and although he was much too young to leave us, perhaps those in mourning can find even the slightest bit of consolation in the fact that he died doing what he loved; playing basketball.

Here is a look at Wes’ game-winning basket in overtime.

Hat Tip – [OddBallDaily]




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