Fennville High School in Fennville, Mich., hosted its 4th annual “Never Forgotten” game on Jan. 30 in memory of Wes Leonard. A member of the Fennville Blackhawks basketball team, Leonard, suffered sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) during a game in 2011. He collapsed just moments after making the game-winning overtime shot that gave the Blackhawks a 20-0 season.
Watch the ESPN short documentary on Wes Leonard.
The cause of Leonard’s death was an undiagnosed heart problem — dilated cardiomyopathy or an enlarged heart. According to a 2003 review published in The New England Journal of Medicine, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the leading cause of SCA among athletes, accounting for roughly a quarter of deaths.
The game raised money for the Wes Leonard Heart Team, a foundation that has donated 126 automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to Michigan schools in the four years since Leonard’s death. Cardiac Science partners with the foundation to provide discounted prices on Powerheart® AEDs.
This year’s celebration of Leonard’s memory was made even more special when Fennville High School’s Julian Martinez-Grigg took a pass from Mitchell Leonard (Wes Leonard’s younger brother) to make a half court shot at the end to tie the game. (The shot was featured on ESPN as its No. 2 play of the night.) Fennville then went on to win in overtime.