Leah Goff died playing basketball, a sport where she showed great promise and seemed born to play.
When the 13-year-old Floyd County girl collapsed while playing with the Spectrum travel team in Roanoke Tuesday, all attempts to revive her failed. The cause of her sudden, tragic death is still undetermined at this writing.
As a newspaper photographer who shoots many photos of school athletic events, I knew of Leah’s hope. I looked forward to photographing the talent and sports prowess of a rising star in a county where young basketball players excel.
Now she is gone, a young life cut way too short for reasons still unexplained. Her passing brings inconsolable grief to her family and friends and a loss to a stunned community.
From the Floyd County Lady Buffaloes basketball Facebook page:
We say goodbye to such a sweet spirit that never walked into the gym without a smile on her face. Always so eager to get to work and get better, yet never too busy to want to chat it up with us coaches or her teammates. She had a great future as a Lady Buff.
The team posted pictures of her on the page.
Check Elementary School Principal Jessica Cromer said counselors were at the school, which was open Wednesday to those who needed help coping with the death. The counselors remain Thursday until 4 p.m.
Death, sadly, is no stranger to the basketball programs of this county. Varsity boys basketball coach Brian Harman lost a young son and girls coach Alan Cantrell a grandson not that many years ago. Both died of the same form of of a rare cancer.
These deaths remind us that life is a fragile existence, one that can be taken away in an instant for reasons we cannot fully understand and can never fully accept.
Leah Goff’s passing shocked the tight-knit community of Floyd County. Discussions of her death were often in hushed tones on Wednesday.
Those who have lost children at far too young of an age understand the grief. Our hearts go out to Leah Goff’s family.
Visitation at Maberry Funeral Home from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday. Her funeral is Friday at 11 a.m. at Copper Hill Church of the Brethren. Donations will be accepted for the church’s youth group.