Missouri varsity basketball player dies shortly after collapsing in morning gym class

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

A small Missouri community is grieving the loss of a budding student athlete after a varsity boys basketball player collapsed during a gym class and died shortly thereafter.

According to the Springfield News-Leader and a handful of other Missouri sources, Spokane (Mo.) High varsity basketball player Forrest Varney died on Wednesday shortly after he collapsed during a morning gym class. The News-Leader reported that Varney's basketball coach, Larry Brown, and a parent of another player immediately administered CPR after Varney collapsed, but the player could not be revived.

As soon as world of Varney's death began to trickle out through the close knit town, the entire community began to grieve the loss of a talented athlete and student for whom the sky was thought to be the limit.

"He was a great student and great kid, who always had a smile on his face," Spokane principal Jim Millsap said in a school district statement. "Forrest never met someone he didn't want to befriend."

Now, the fellow Spokane students who Varney did befriend are left puzzled by the sudden loss of a friend who they never imagined would fade from their view.

"Everyone said at practice he looked fine," fellow Spokane senior Chris Leake told OzarksFirst.com. "He practiced like normal. Was joking around like normal."

According to OzarksFirst.com, shortly after his death, Leake sent his friend one final text message which served as a fitting coda to a life gone too soon.

"I said 'I love you buddy. You're the best man I ever met. You're my best friend. I miss you so much."

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