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Battlefield High School junior Kojo Bonsu was expected to start at point guard this season for the varsity basketball team before his heart-related condition sidelined him.

The first points Kojo Bonsu scored after an eight-month break from basketball came on a reverse layup. The Battlefield High School junior had been cleared the day before to return to physical activity and he wasted no time in returning the court.

Understandably, Bonsu was winded at first during his return to the court the first week of March. Soon, though, he returned to form. And when his chance came to drive from the baseline toward the basket, he took it.

“It felt pretty strange,” said Bonsu. “But I got used to it. I warmed up for a few minutes.”

Bonsu is the charity recipient for Hoops Fest 22, an annual skills competition sponsored by InsideNoVa and Battlefield Ford that features the area's top boys and girls basketball players. This year's event is March 22 at Gar-Field High School, starting at 7 p.m. Admission is $10 and there is no presale. All money raised goes to help the Bonsu family with medical expenses.

Bonsu, projected as Battlefield’s starting point guard before he was sidelined, missed the entire high school basketball season after undergoing a heart transplant in December. Bonsu began having health issues in early July when he suffered a stroke. The reason stemmed from something preventing his heart from fully functioning. The official diagnosis: cardiomyopathy, a potentially fatal condition that causes blockage in the heart and keeps it from pumping blood at total capacity.

Bonsu was in and out of Children’s Hospital the rest of the summer and during the fall as he waited for a donor.

To strengthen his heart, Bonsu wore a ventricular assist device called a VAD attached to his waist at all times. Bonsu received the VAD during a surgical procedure in mid-October at Children’s Hospital.

The 10-pound mechanical pump flows blood throughout his body. Bonsu no longer needs to wear the VAD.

Bonsu hopes to return to school after spring break. For now, he stays home and does his school work online. He also returns for monthly visits to Children’s Hospital for checkups. He’s progressing nicely.

“They like what they see,” Bonsu said.

HOOPS FEST ORDER OF EVENTS

 »   National anthem

»»Girls 3-point shootout

»»Boys 3-point shootout

»»Two-ball competition

»»Meet Kojo Bonsu

»»Meet the slam-dunk judges

»»Slam-dunk competition 

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