Hardwood Heartbreak

Tragedy in a small town

The Leonard family moved from Baldwin City, Kansas, to Fennville in 2005. Fennville reminded them a lot of Baldwin. Both small, blue-collar towns. Both caring communities.

Fennville fans take in the 2016 Never Forgotten Game at Morehead Gymnasium under the watch of the Blackhawk (Photo by Kyle Beery)

Recommendations for saving lives

In April 2016 the Journal of the American College of Cardiology released a consensus statement on pre-participation heart screenings of collegiate athletes in conjunction with the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Losing a legend

The Loyola Marymount University Lions took the college basketball world by storm in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Leading the charge was Hank Gathers.

Pulling good from bad

Derrick Gathers struggled for a long time with the loss of his brother. It sent him to a bad place. He recalls his mother and younger brother screaming inside the Daniel Freeman Marina Hospital in Marina Del Rey, California, after learning Hank had died.

Coping in Fennville

Just days after Wes’ death, Fennville was still in shock. And a group of high school kids that had just lost their teammate and friend were faced with a difficult decision — whether to play in the state tournament.

AEDs matter

12-year-old Joel Tsetse of Fishers, Indiana, knows firsthand that AEDs matter.

Fast Action

On Dec. 2, 2017, history nearly repeated itself.

Moving forward

The Tsetses never did get a definitive answer as to what caused Joel’s sudden cardiac arrest, but he has been healthy since and continues to play basketball and multiple other sports. Similarly to Jordan Gathers, he has been completely healthy since the incident and continues to play basketball.

Fennville retired Leonard’s basketball and football jersey numbers, displayed on the wall next to Blackhawk basketball legend Richie Jordan’s number (Photo by Kyle Beery)
The Blackhawks returned to DeVos Fieldhouse on Hope’s campus for the 2017 Never Forgotten Game (Photo by Kyle Beery)



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Kyle Beery

Kyle Beery

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Budding sports journalist with a degree from Butler University. Freelance journalist in Detroit. Associate Detroit Tigers beat writer, MLB.com, 2016.