Wes Leonard


FENNVILLE, Mich. — A 16-year-old basketball player from western Michigan collapsed and died of an enlarged heart after hitting a game-winning shot to complete his high school team’s perfect season, ABC News reported Friday.

Wes Leonard was hurled into the air by teammates as fans rushed the court after he made the decisive layup in a 57-55 overtime win over Bridgman Thursday to complete Fennville’s 20-0 season, the Holland Sentinel reported.

Fennville teen hits winning shot, dies: woodtv.comTeammates hoist Wes Leonard up after he hit the game-winning basket Thursday night.APTeammates hoist Wes Leonard up after he hit the game-winning basket Thursday night.But he soon fell to the floor after a team huddle and was rushed to Holland Hospital, where he died at 10:40pm local time.According to Dr. David A Start, the forensic pathologist and medical examiner of Ottawa County, the cause of death was cardiac arrest due to dilated cardiomyopathy — an enlarged heart.Earlier, as Leonard’s ambulance left for the hospital, Fennville Police Department Superintendent Dirk Weeldreyer said, “Obviously, in the midst of celebration, I think shocking is exactly the word. And certainly our deepest prayers are with Wes and his family, and obviously his health is far more important than any game.””It’s tough to take in,” added Leonard’s teammate Shane Bale. “It’s like somebody from your family, you know?”Within hours, hospital spokesman Tim Breed confirmed Leonard’s death.”All efforts were made after he arrived to help restart his heart, but unfortunately those efforts were not successful,” he said.John Norton, the athletic director at Bridgman High School, said the outcome of the game did not matter to anyone in light of Leonard’s death.”That was a good game, but when something like this happens, sports are pretty irrelevant,” he said.The tragic passing came only days after Fennville coach Ryan Klingler had praised Leonard, who reportedly had the flu last week, for his health and conditioning.”That’s what makes him a little different,” he told the Sentinel on Tuesday. “He takes care of his body better than probably anybody I’ve ever coached. Spends a lot of time on his own in the weight room. He’s a special kid.”Despite still feeling the effects of the flu, Leonard led Fennville to victory Saturday in the final of the inaugural Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament.Leonard also played quarterback for the high school football team, leading the squad to the Southwestern Athletic Conference North Division championship this season.He is the second Fennville athlete to die in the past 14 months. Wrestler Nathaniel Hernandez, 14, passed away in January of last year after suffering a seizure at his house following a match.Fennville is a small town located in southwest Michigan, about 50 miles from Grand Rapids. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Wes’ family, friend, and community. – Cleveland CremationRead more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/michigan_high_school_hoops_player_y5wwMTNe4RLH3vjreTAJwL#ixzz1FjPQgR5k

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