Columbus says goodbye to 15-year-old Antwon Whitehead - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Columbus says goodbye to 15-year-old Antwon Whitehead at Carver HS

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

One week ago today, 15-year-old Antwon Whitehead died from a heart attack while playing basketball in his school's gymnasium. Today, September 14, 2013, his community gathered in the auditorium at Carver High School to say goodbye.   

Whitehead was a member of the National Society of High School Scholars. He was recognized by President Barack Obama for his academic accomplishments. As a freshman at Carver High School, he was player number 52 on the varsity basketball team, and a D1 college basketball prospect. Then, his life was suddenly cut short.

Officials say that during Whitehead's life, no one was aware that he suffered from an abnormally enlarged heart that would be the cause of his death, but they did know so much about him that they will not forget.

Bryant Thomas, a friend of Whitehead's, spoke at the funeral today.  "The game of life is like the game of basketball," he said. "There's runs, drops, and bad calls. You can't complain. You have to regroup during the timeout. This is our timeout to reflect on how Twon impacted our life."

Donnie Hill, Sr., Antwon's Granddad, recalled how much Whitehead was loved. He remembered giving him the nickname "Foots" after Whitehead grew 8 inches in a single summer. "He was our star. Our bright star," said Hill.  

Warren Beaulah was Antwon's Coach, and says he was a father figure to Whitehead at school. He preferred to call him "Twon".  "Antwon probably was the most humble, respectful and intelligent young man I ever had the opportunity to coach," said Beaulah.  

Congressman Sanford Bishop Jr., as well as leaders from the NAACP, sent letters of condolences that were read aloud during the ceremony.

Councilman Bruce Huff read a proclamation declaring September 14, 2013 as Antwon Whitehead Day in the city of Columbus.

Pastor Daryl Stover of Cornerstone of Faith Christian Church, and Pastor Felix Worthen of Providence Missionary Baptist Church both moved the congregation into a spirit of celebration with their addresses.  

While sadness is immeasurable for such a young, hopeful life ended so suddenly, the congregation also couldn't help but be thankful that Whitehead's last experience in this life was doing what he loved best on the courts.

Whitehead leaves behind a community grieving because he has died, but truly enriched because he lived.

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