Star Fennville player, Wes Leonard dies after making game winning shot

6:44 PM, Mar 4, 2011   |    comments
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Fennville basketball player Wes Leonard (center) collapsed and died after a game against Bridgman. (WZZM 13 file photo)

UPDATE AT 5:30 P.M. - Visitation for Wes Leonard will be Sunday from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. at Fennville United Methodist Church.

The funeral is 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at Christ Memorial Church in Holland.

UPDATE AT 3:30 P.M. - An autopsy has confirmed Wes Leonard died Thursday night from a heart attack.

Dr. David Start, Ottawa County's chief medical examiner, says in a statement that the cause of death was cardiac arrest due to dilated cardiomyopathy, or an enlarged heart.

According to the National Institutes of Health, dilated cardiomyopathy is "a condition in which the heart becomes weakened and enlarged, and it cannot pump blood efficiently."  The condition can affect anyone at any age, but it is most common in adult men.

FENNVILLE, Mich. (WZZM)-- Counselors are on hand at all Fennville schools this morning after a star basketball player collapsed and died after Thursday night's basketball game.

Fennville Superintendent Dirk Weeldreyer says Wes Leonard was a popular student and outstanding athlete.

Leonard made the winning shot during overtime for Fennville.

A Holland Hospital spokeswoman says Wes Leonard, 16, collapsed Thursday night moments after a 57-55 overtime win against Bridgman.

Leonard scored the winning basket in overtime, to lead the Blackhawks to victory. Fennville completed a perfect 20-0  regular season.

A Holland Hospital spokeswoman says Leonard fell to the floor as people began rushing the court after the game.

Paramedics tried to resuscitate Leonard on the way to Holland Hospital. He arrived at the hospital at 9:20 p.m., and was pronounced dead at 10:40 p.m. The spokeswoman says medical workers did everything they could to save him.

Leonard was a standout player for Fennville's basketball and football teams.  The last post on his Facebook page was dated Wednesday, March 2: "Got a good long shower ...ready for bed and game tomorrow!!!!!"

There was a long list of Leonard's friends posting "we miss you" and "rest in peace" messages on his Facebook page late Thursday night.

Leonard's mother is a teacher at Fennville Middle School.


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