Grant Wahl was ‘incredibly proud’ of Kansas City soccer community, brother says

Published: Jun. 9, 2023 at 12:20 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - Several local sports icons were honored Thursday night at the Kansas City Sports Award at the Marriot Downtown where Neal Jones was to give a live look of those honored in the 50th annual event.

The awards are meant for the men and women who have impacted the area’s sports scene which included Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones as the Polsinelli Sportsman of the Year, Chiefs general manager Brett Veach as the McCownGordon Construction Executive of the Year and the KC Current’s Lo’eau Abonta as the Children’s Mercy Kansas City Sportswoman of the Year.

Further, the event honored late sports journalist Grant Wahl as the Spire Community Champion. Wahl passed in December while covering the World Cup in Qatar. His family later revealed that he died of a ruptured heart vessel caused by an undetected aneurysm.

“Shocking. It was something Grant loved and committed his life to so I don’t think there would have been any other place he rather would have been besides with his family,” said his brother, Eric Wahl to KCTV5 at the event. “Shocking loss, no one expected it. We later found out he had a heart defect and through genetic testing, we figured out that runs through our family now. So a positive is I discovered I have the same thing and my uncle has the same thing so we can do something about it now.”

The late journalist attended Shawnee Mission East High School before going to Princeton and working for the Miami Herald out of college. He joined Sports Illustrated in 1996 and did work for CBS Sports and FOX Sports.

He covered eight FIFA men’s World Cups, four FIFA Women’s World Cups and 12 NCAA men’s Tournaments.

“As a journalist, you don’t want to betray one side or another by saying you favor this or that, but in private he was very proud [of the Kansas City soccer community] and the fact that women’s soccer is thriving in the country but especially here in Kansas City, made him incredibly proud,” continued Eric.