A Kent Roosevelt High School athlete collapsed on the basketball court floor after scoring a layup Wednesday night and died an hour later, authorities said.
Sophomore Devon Conwell, 15, died at the Cleveland Clinic’s satellite facility in Twinsburg about 9:45 p.m., less than an hour after falling to the court inside Pinnacle Sports on Ravenna Road, authorities said.
An autopsy was conducted Thursday at the Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office in Akron. The cause of death is pending toxicology tests that could take about six weeks to complete, spokesman Gary Guenther said.
Thomas Larkin, the assistant superintendant of Kent schools, was with the Conwell family at their home Thursday afternoon. He said the family, including Devon’s mother, Jennifer Conwell, is grateful for the community’s support. They asked for privacy while they grieve the loss of their son.
“Kent is a special community and it’s amazing how the community is pulling together to support the family right now,” Larkin said. “Everyone is on standby to see what the family’s wishes are.”
Investigators say Devon had not been treated previously for any serious heart issues. He had been diagnosed with a slight heart murmur, however, and was prescribed Adderall for attention deficit disorder, Guenther said.
Adderall is a stimulant and its main ingredient is amphetamine.
Devon, who stood about 6-foot-3 and weighed 267 pounds, played junior varsity basketball for Roosevelt High. He also played varsity football on the offensive line for the Rough Riders.
“Devon is an outstanding kid and athlete,” Roosevelt football coach John Nemec said. “He was growing as a football and basketball player. A lot of colleges were looking at him as an offensive lineman. ... Schools actually called [Wednesday] and [Thursday] asking about him. They didn’t know what happened.
“I feel awful for his family,” Nemec said. “He comes from a good family.”
Authorities say Devon was driven to Pinnacle by his friend’s father to participate in an Amateur Athletic Union basketball team practice Wednesday evening. Witnesses told investigators that Devon appeared to be fine when he drove to the basket for a layup. After making the shot, however, he suddenly collapsed to the floor.
Paramedics were called about 8 p.m., and rescuers found Devon lying on his back and struggling to breathe. CPR was performed before Devon was taken to the Clinic for additional treatment. More life-saving procedures were attempted before the teen was pronounced dead.
Superintendent Joseph Giancola said the mood around the district schools was somber as grieving students, some openly weeping, learned of Devon’s death. Grief counselors were available and many students requested meetings, he said.
“Devon was very well-liked and respected by the students and staff,” Giancola said. “He had a contagious smile, he was always happy and he had a great impact on all the students around him. We’re all grieving for the family of Devon.”
Like all athletes, Devon underwent regular physical examinations before playing basketball and football. Giancola said there were no signs of any heart problems on the young athlete.
“Obviously his passing while he was involved in athletics would indicate there was a medical condition that was not detected through his physical,” Giancola said. “But there are some congenital conditions that don’t show up in anyone’s physical examinations.”