Enlarged Heart May Have Killed Wes Leonard, High School Basketball Star

By Yi Yang
Yi Yang
Yi Yang
March 5, 2011 Updated: March 5, 2011

Wes Leonard died on the floor of Fennville High School’s basketball court after making the winning shot against Bridgman.

The 16-year-old was rushed to Holland Hospital after his sudden collapse during the celebration for the team’s victory, according to CBS Sports. Before his fall, Leonard had been hoisted into the air by his fellow teammates for his successful last shot.

More than 1,400 people witnessed the high-school player collapsing and were in shock.

"Thirty seconds earlier, he was laying in the winning bucket," Fennville basketball coach Ryan Klingler told The Associated Press, "And then 10 seconds later … everything's pulled out from under you, from out of nowhere."

Paramedics conducted CPR after Leonard was sent to the emergency room but were unable to save the teenage basketball star.

Leonard died from cardiac arrest and was found to have dilated cardiomyopathy, which happens when the heart gets enlarged and hence weakened.

Medical examiner David Start said athletics could have placed stress on Leonard's heart, but his death could not be easily explained.

"It shouldn't have been like this," teammate Adam Siegel told AP. "Too young."

Leonard was a very talented athlete from a young age. In addition to basketball, he was also an excellent football and baseball player. Although gifted, the 6’2" athlete was very humble.

"He had a personality that, when people were around him, they played better," Tim Schipper, Leonard's football coach told AP. "Everybody around him played better, because he was a leader and the best athlete."

“He was very courteous. He was the nicest kid,” said Chad VanHuis, a baseball umpire at Leonard’s middle school. “You'd think with his star potential, because he's so gifted, he'd be cocky, but he never really was that way.”

Well-loved and a good person at heart, Leonard will be remembered by all his loved ones and many more.

Yi Yang
Yi Yang