Shannon Ardel Wilson spent his 17th birthday doing what he loved-- playing basketball at a summer high school camp.
But his day soon took a tragic turn. Shannon died on the court from a rare undetected heart condition.
Since Shannon's death in 1995, Lowndes County has taken measures to prevent future occurrences like this.
"Many athletes in the past have had heart problems at athletic events, but if you have a heart defibrillator, accidents like this might be prevented," said Sheriff Ashley Paulk.
The Sheriff's department has taken the first step in protecting students. They recently donated a much needed heart defibrillator to Lowndes High School.
"We are so large here, we're almost like a community," said Janie McGhin, Health Occupations teacher. "We have needed one of these for so long."
Lowndes county educators say they've wanted the device for several years, but didn't know if they could afford the expense.
"We were trying to figure out how we could get the money to buy a defibrillator, and then this week our principal told us the sheriff's department was going to give us one," said McGhin. "This is a dream come true."
If an athlete does suffer from cardiac problems, the heart defibrillator greatly increases their chance of survival.
"It checks their heart rate very accurately and lets you know if it is beating or if you need to shock them," said Stacey Stewart, LHS football coach.
Lowndes High educators hope they never have to use the defibrillator, but if an unexpected situation does arise, it could play a vital role in saving a life.
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