Last week, a Wyoming high school athlete died suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 17.
Max Sorenson of Gillette, Wyoming, died on Dec. 26 “due to complications from injuries sustained playing basketball,” according to his obituary.
Campbell County Coroner Paul Wallem determined that the cause of death was peritonitis, an infection of the tissue that lines the abdomen, according to a report Friday in the Gillette News Record.
The outlet reported that Sorenson, a junior at Thunder Basin High School, suffered an injury during a Dec. 17 game against Rock Springs, but did not specify the nature of the injury.
The Cowboy State Daily later reported that Sorenson “suffered a medical event at his home … and was pronounced deceased at Campbell Memorial Hospital.”
“Max had an incredible work ethic and was very disciplined,” his obituary said. “His focus was evidenced by his achievements at school, on the basketball court, at church and in his social activities. Even more important than those successes were his welcoming smile, kind eyes, curly locks and loving personality, which made friendship with him easy and comfortable and was felt by everyone.”
Sorenson was a model student at Thunder Basin, with a 4.0 grade-point average. He had also been inducted into the National Honor Society. He was on the school’s state championship basketball team last year as a sophomore and started for the team this year.
Sorenson’s English teacher once sent a letter to the young man’s parents after taking his son to watch one of the student’s basketball games, his obituary reported.
The teacher wrote, “I just wanted to let you know what an amazing son you have! Max is a tremendous role model for all kids and I’m glad my son got to see him play and I look forward to watching many more games this season.”
“His love for basketball was matched only by his passion for other outdoor sports and activities like golf, wakesurfing and wakeboarding at the lake, cruising the side-by-side in the hills with his dad, and any excuse to hang out with all of his friends and cousins,” the obituary said. “He was an avid BYU fan and loved every opportunity to cheer for the Cougars.”
Following Sorenson’s death, his team debated whether or not to attend the Hoop City Classic tournament in Mitchell and Sioux Falls, South Dakota, last week.
“We let the boys decide if they wanted to come to that,” Thunder Basin basketball coach Rory Williams told the news outlet. “And they ultimately decided they wanted to come and play for Max, and basically be together.”
Sorenson’s teammates wore his jersey number to honor the fallen player, and other teams participating at the tournament did so as well.
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