Family of Carver HS student wants law changes after his death pl - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Family of Carver HS student wants law changes after his basketball death

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Antwon Whitehead Antwon Whitehead
COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

Following the death of a Carver High School student playing basketball in the school's gym over the weekend, the family of Antwon Whitehead wants to pass a law to keep the same thing from happening to another child.  

His aunt, Karen Whitehead-Keyton, is spearheading the campaign.

The star basketball player died on the court after making a slam dunk. At only 15-years-old, Whitehead suffered an abnormal heart failure. A natural cause that came with no obvious warning signs, but Whitehead's family believes his death could have been prevented.   It's standard procedure for every student athlete to receive a physical exam before they can play sports, but it wasn't enough to reveal Whitehead's condition.

"If it was required for every high school, middle school students- if they're going to play sports- I think it's important for them to have an EKG, and echocardiogram, something to that effect to detect if there is something going on with their hearts prior to this happening.   I feel like it could have been avoided," said Keyton-Whitehead.

Whitehead's aunt is getting ready to start petitioning congressmen to enact "Antwon's Law," a piece of legislation designed to make more thorough examination procedures part of the routine.

It's not the first time we've heard this kind of suggestion. WTVM's Semone Doughton interviewed Muscogee County Athletic Director, Gary Gibson, and asked him the same question in 2011. At the time, he was able to say this type of death has never occurred in his district.   As an urgent care doctor explained, the price of these procedures is the biggest obstacle to widespread implementation. 

"You'd have to screen so many people to find something wrong at a cost of about $100 more per person for that," said Dr. Kevin Lookesmoe.

"My reaction is, you haven't lost anyone.   You haven't lost anyone that close to you, so it's easy for you to say that," said Keyton-Whitehead.

It's likely to be an uphill battle, but it's one that Antwon Whitehead's family says is worth fighting.

According to medical officials, Antwon Whitehead died of an enlarged heart, and no one knew he had this problem until it was to late.   Until his family succeeds in passing "Antwon's Law" they encourage any parent who fears this may happen to their child to get them checked out by a doctor outside of school.

For more information about his family's cause, visit @AntwonWhitehead on Twitter.  His funeral is scheduled for 1:30 p.m., Saturday, September 14 and it is open to the public.

SEE RELATED ARTICLE: Funeral arrangements for 15-year-old Carver HS student Antwon Whitehead

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