SCOTT — He remembers his brother, one step at a time.
Acadiana guard Dylan Ozene doesn't wear his heart on his sleeve, but rather his feet. Right there above the laces sits the memory of a brother taken too soon.
Custom socks, with his late brother Shane’s face on them, are a part of Dylan uniform every time he takes the court.
“The socks are an expression of a way he can't verbally tell me, 'This is how I want to remember my brother,'” said Dylan’s mom, Shannon.
Dylan was 10 when he watched his brother die on a basketball court.
“I was in the restroom taking my bath,” he recalls. “I heard my momma knocking on the door telling me to come out. When I came out I saw everyone running to the car.”
Without even shoes, Dylan and his family rushed across town to Northside High School where his brother had basketball practice.
“About halfway to school, the coach called me again and he sounded frantic,” Shannon said. “At that time, I knew it was very serious.”
On Jan. 31, 2011, 15-year-old Shane Ozene suffered a heart attack during a rec-league basketball practice. He was a sophomore at Acadiana High School.
He died on the floor in front of his family.
“When we walked into the gym they were actually trying to revive him,” Shannon said. “That's an image I’ll never get out of my head. I wish to this day that Dylan and his sister weren't there to see that.”
Shane was living with an enlarged heart, a condition that was never detected and left him at risk for heart failure. Dylan and his sister get tested each year to see if they too have the same condition that killed their brother.
“I would see him sleeping and I would feel safe around him,” said Dylan. “It's different now."
“Dylan played soccer one year in junior high. His jersey was so big, I was like 'Dylan why is your jersey so big?' he said, "Because it's number 9, and I had to wear number 9."
Dylan has always kept his brother close to him when he played basketball, but in high school number 9 is ineligible. So Dylan wears number 10, and Shane remains close right there on Dylan's socks.
“A good friend of my surprised me with the first pair that Dylan had and I thought it was such a cool idea, and it warmed our hearts to have that for Dylan to wear,” Shannon added.
“Everyone was telling me they liked it, some people asked for a pair,” Dylan said. “Every game I play for him.”
Dylan wears Shane around his feet every time he plays a game, and next season when he tried walking onto Southern University’s team, Shane will be with him each step of the way.
The Shane Ozene Foundation has helped push legislation that requires schools to have automatic external defibrillators, something that could have saved his life.