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Josh Level Died From Myocarditis, A Virus That Got Into His Heart, Dad Says

8:06 AM, Mar 26, 2013   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC -- Tuesday night, February 19, Josh Level collapsed at a basketball game in Winston-Salem and died after being taken to the hospital.

Level played for New Garden Friends School. The team was playing on the road against Quality Education Academy.

Level collapsed during a time out and died at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Since that night, his parents, friends and staff at New Garden Friends have looked for answers to the cause of his death. Monday, Josh's father Joseph Level told WFMY News 2's Lauren Melvin his son died of myocarditis. Level said he spoke directly to a medical examiner at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. The pathologist explained myocarditis is a viral infection, like the common cold that attacks the heart. 

"As a dad, you wonder what you could have done. Did I miss something, did I see something?" said Level. "I'll always have questions and I won't have those answers until I see God face-to-face."

Level said no one even knew Josh was sick or noticed any cold symptoms. According to the information Level received from the pathologist, the infection attacked Josh's heart while he played basketball.

"In all my pain, I do find a sliver of comfort in knowing that God allowed this to happen," said Level. "There was nothing at all that any of us really could have done to prevent this."

Level said for him and his family, each day gets a little bit better, but he's still unable to look at pictures of his son.  It's too difficult for him.

"My wife finds comfort, she finds some strength in looking at pictures and videos," he said.

The Level family is starting the Joshua Level Foundation in memory of Josh. 

Level said the foundation will have two causes.  It will supporting anti-bullying campaigns because Josh always had a way of making everyone feel like they were part of his team.

The foundation will also focus on volunteerism and encourage high school athletes to help with Special Olympics.  Josh had a special relationship with his younger sister, who has Down Syndrome.

"Josh was more than an athlete, so it's just not going to be something related to athletics," Level said.

 Stay with WFMY News 2 and Digtriad for this developing story. 

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