(9-11-03) Funeral Thurs. for AC Flora student who collapsed during pick-up game - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

(9-11-03) Funeral Thurs. for AC Flora student who collapsed during pick-up game

Lee Cannon Lee Cannon

(Columbia) Sept. 11, 2003 - Funeral services will be held at 5:30pm on Thursday at the AC Flora school gym for an AC Flora high school senior who collapsed during a pick-up basketball game Monday and later died.

An autopsy shows Lee Cannon, 17, had a congenital heart defect. He was playing at Trenholm Park in Columbia Monday afternoon when he collapsed. Paramedics rushed Cannon to Providence Hospital, where he died. He was a member of AC Flora's varsity basketball team.

Richland County Coroner Gary Watts' office says Cannon, who died of cardiac arrest, had coronary artery bridging, a birth defect that led to cardiac arrhythmia.

Visitation for Cannon was Wednesday from 7:00-8:00pm at Greater Columbia Funeral Services on Main Street. An informal memorial service was planned Wednesday morning in the AC Flora parking lot. A memorial fund has been set up at First Citizen's Bank.

AC Flora Coach Don Bell had just dropped by the gym where the students were playing, "I stopped by the gym to check on them and said, 'You guys behave.' He said, 'I got this coach,' and I went home. By the time I got home there were seven to eight messages telling me to get to the hospital."

Bell says Cannon's fellow teammates didn't take the situation seriously at first, "They were playing. He was backpedaling down the court and fell. First they thought he was playing. They rushed over and saw he was having trouble breathing."

The coach says the teammates wasted no time once they realized there was a problem, "They didn't panic. They did exactly what they were told. They had him in a proper position to clear his breathing and that sort of thing."

Bell says Cannon was a stand-out athlete and student, "If you wanted to pick one person to represent AC Flora and the basketball program it would be Lee Cannon. ... This year, in my estimation, he would have been an all-region basketball player, because he worked so hard in that area of his life as well."

Coach Bell is honoring Cannon by wearing his high school ring.

Carlos Belgrave knew Cannon since middle school. He helped set up a memorial where his friend used to park, "He was a real funny guy. Anytime you were down. He'd pick you up."

Cannon's death is the latest in a string of young people dying while exercising. In May, 15-year-old Columbia High School freshman Brandon Butler collapsed during a Junior ROTC one-mile run on the school track with the other cadets. He died after going into cardiac arrest. This summer a Morris College student also died while playing pick-up basketball.

In April, 18-year-old Dutch Fork High School senior Victor Sims of died after going into cardiac arrest while practicing with his AAU team at Dreher High School in Columbia. In December, Camden High School's Marcus Warren collapsed during a game and died, also from a heart problem.

Reported by Catherine Reynolds
updated 10:44am by BrettWitt

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