GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - As we near the one-year anniversary of 16-year-old Wes Leonard's tragic death, his life and legacy are being featured in the new edition of Sports Illustrated magazine.
Leonard, of Fennville, died suddenly after scoring the game-winning shot in a high school basketball game in March 2011. He suffered a cardiac arrest caused by an enlarged heart. He was recently inducted into the Fennville Hall of Fame.
The Sports Illustrated issue was recently released. New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin is on the cover.
Near the back of the issue, Sports Illustrated writer Thomas Lake tells a gripping nine-page tale of the athlete and person Leonard was -- and what some experts believe led to his sudden death.
According to the article, Chief of Pediatric Cardiology at Cincinnati's Children's Hospital Medical Center Jeffrey Towbin reached the conclusion that Leonard was probably born with a rare genetic mutation that slowly weakened bonds among the muscle cells in his heart. Towbin said Leonard's heart went from all to nothing, and collapsed like a structurally unsound bridge.
Lake also outlines the friendship between Leonard and teammate Xavier Grigg, who later fought off his grief and helped lead the Fennville Blackhawks to a remarkable district championship in front of 3,500 emotional fans at DeVos Fieldhouse at Hope College in Holland.
Lake also talks about Leonard's great tolerance for pain -- Leonard continued to play quarterback in a game after separating his shoulder.
The story is sure to bring back a flood of difficult memories, especially in the community of Fennville in Allegan County -- but it's also meant to be a tribute to Leonard.
The Sports lllustrated issue is in stores now.
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