Deaths of Teen-Age Athletes Raise Questions Over Testing
By William C. Rhoden
Susie Gary sat in her North Chicago home and recalled how her grandson,
Devon Mills, would transform the living room into a basketball arena.
With imaginary fans cheering, Devon would do his own play-by-play as he
hit the winning shot on a makeshift goal. Mills told his grandmother that
he was going to be a star one day and predicted that television crews and
reporters would flock to their home.
As she told the story, Mrs. Gary was torn by the irony of how Devon's predictions
had been fulfilled. The home had in fact been swamped by camera crews and
reporters, but, she said, "He never thought it would be because of something
Devon, 16, had just finished getting a drink of water when he collapsed
and died after playing in a game for the North Chicago High School freshman
team on Feb. 12. The cause of death was an undetected heart problem.
"Sometimes I wish I could just wake up and have it not happen," Mrs. Gary
said. "You just don't know how badly something like this hurts."
The sudden deaths of young people like Devon Mills do not receive the widespread
attention that was paid Hank Gathers, the Loyola Marymount basketball star
who died during a game four years ago this month, or Reggie Lewis, the Boston
Celtics' captain who collapsed and died last summer....
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