Funeral Arrangements Made For Fallen High School Athlete

FENNVILLE (WWJ) – The Ottawa County Medical Examiner says a high school basketball player who collapsed on the court after making a game-winning shot died from cardiac arrest due to an enlarged heart.

Paramedics performed CPR on 16-year-old Wes Leonard before rushing him to Holland Hospital, where he died.

capt 1f5ac15f1f074dc8a7fe7c1d89f96e3a 1f5ac15f1f074dc8a7fe7c1d89f96e3a 0 Funeral Arrangements Made For Fallen High School Athlete

Fans look on as paramedics tend to Wes Leonard. (AP Photo/The Holland Sentinel, D.J. Geppert)

Leonard, a junior at Fenville High School, made the winning bucket in overtime Thursday night to beat Bridgman, 57-55.  Leonard’s shot capped his team’s perfect 20-0 season.

Leonard was also quarterback of the football team. The school district’s superintendent called him “the quintessential all-American kid.”

Beaumont Hospital cardiac surgeon Dr. Marc Sakwa tells WWJ Newsradio 950 the death of student athletes during a game is usually the result of the congenital heart defect that killed Leonard and features a thickening of the heart.

Sakwa said there are often no symptoms.

“Usually not, that’s the unfortunate part of this. There’s usually no warning signs, and the first presentation is sudden death,” Sakwa said.

Dr. Sakwa said children are not tested for the defect during routine check ups, but there is a $25 test that parents can request.

Leonard is the second Fennville athlete to die in 14 months. The 14-year old wrestler Nathaniel Hernandez, died in January of last year after suffering a seizure at home following a high school wrestling match.

Fenville Public Schools is saying visitation for Wes Leonard is being held Sunday at Fennville United Methodist Church. 

 The fallen student’s funeral will follow on Tuesday at Christ Memorial Church in Holland.


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