CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - South Rowan sophomore, Lavon Hill is a key component of the team, but for reasons that the naked eye can't see.
As a freshman, Hill was a promising player coached by Bryan Withers, until the end of the season. Hill was standing at the foul line, like he'd done so many times before, but something wasn't right.
Coach Withers called out to his young player, "Lavon, you alright?"
Hill made his way to his coach and told him he couldn't hear anything and was dizzy, the trainer checked him out, and he sat on the bench the rest of the game.
Afterwards, Coach Withers advised his Mom to take him to a doctor just to make sure everything was okay… that doctor's visit lead to the discovery of Hill's torn aorta and enlarged heart. The doctor's said he couldn't play basketball with either condition let alone both.
In August of 2012, the 15 year old had open heart surgery. Doctors warned he wouldn't be back in class for 6 to 8 weeks… Lavon Hill was back the next week.
He was eager to not only get back to class, but back to the court, it was a waiting game that felt like forever. After slowly gaining strength and attending practice with limited activity, Hill walked up to his coach with a letter fully releasing him.
He played three games in the December 2012 basketball tournament and now helps as a starter on the varsity basketball team.
Coach Withers admits it was hard to release him at first, knowing that in August he had surgery that left him with a fifteen inch scar down his chest.
Withers said, "Lavon serves as a living witness that you're not promised tomorrow, and don't take the ability to play basketball for granted."
The story inspires both his teammates and fans, but for Lavon, he's just grateful to be living.