Saturday, March 5, 2011

Wes Leonard Dies

Wes Leonard Dies: FENNVILLE, Mich. — One moment: a perfect shot to end a perfect season. The star player, just 16, lifted off the floor in celebration.

The official cause of death of Wes Leonard, the 16-year-old Michigan high school student who collapsed and died after hitting the game-winning shot Thursday night, was cardiac arrest brought on by dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition of which Leonard may have been unaware. The ruling came from the chief medical examiner for Ottawa County in west Michigan.

The results were released on Friday by the office of Dr. David A. Start, a forensic pathologist, after they notified the family.

Dilated cardiomyopathy is a condition in which the heart becomes weakened and enlarged, often without noticeable symptoms. More from the Mayo Clinic:

    Dilated cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle, primarily affecting your heart's main pumping chamber (left ventricle). The left ventricle becomes enlarged (dilated) and can't pump blood to your body with as much force as a healthy heart can.

On Thursday night, Leonard scored the game-winning basket in overtime to propel Fennville High School past Bridgman, 57-55 (a win that gave Fennville a perfect season), and then collapsed during the celebration afterward.

Leonard was first attended to by a parent EMT who happened to be in attendance before emergency crews arrived. He arrived at Holland hospital at 9:20 p.m. in cardiac arrest. Doctors were unable to revive him, pronouncing him dead a little more then an hour later.

Fennville canceled a play and a middle school dance that were scheduled for Friday night and issued a statement via its Facebook page.

    "The loss of Wes Leonard is a tragedy that has shocked our entire community. We feel tremendous sorrow for the Leonard family and everyone else who knew and cared for Wes. All of our schools have grief counselors available for students. We appreciate the outpouring of assistance from our fellow Allegan County school districts, as well as the many other expressions of support we have received."

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