A 12-year-old boy from Newark, New Jersey, collapsed and died suddenly during football practice at a local field, leaving his grieving family with questions.
Elijah Jordan Brown-Garcia was reportedly performing drills along with his team, the Essex County Predators, at the West Side Park football field when he inexplicably collapsed. Team officials say that Brown-Garcia was not engaged in heavy activity at the time, according to News 12.
“No contact. It was just drills running back and forth. He didn’t get hit,” said his mother, Raven Brown. “He was a healthy kid … I don’t know why Friday night was his day.”
“He was so happy to be there. He didn’t know that it was going to be his last day,” his grieving mother added.
Brown added that her other son, a 10-year-old who was also at the practice, called her, telling her that Elijah had collapsed and they were “fanning” him and pouring water on him.
She added that, despite three separate calls for an ambulance, it took more than 40 minutes for one to arrive. She told local media that she beat the ambulance to the field after rushing there herself.
“I beat the ambulance there,” Brown said. “Like 30-40 minutes. It took them a long time.”
Brown expressed confusion as to why no one involved with the team or league was CPR certified, adding that the coach admitted that no one on sight was able to help.
“They are neglectful. You can’t run a team like that,” Brown insisted. “I miss his face. I miss him dancing … I just miss him. I miss everything about him.”
A spokesman for his league said that they didn’t have enough information about the passing to make statements. However, Elijah’s school, KIPP Rise Academy, released a statement saying how much they will miss the boy.
“Elijah will be deeply missed by our KIPP students, families, and educators, and we will remember him as a kind, outgoing student who was a friend to all,” said Jessica Shearer, a school spokesperson. “Elijah has a brother and an aunt learning and teaching within our school. To support the Brown-Garcia family as they navigate this tragedy, please donate to their GoFundMe.”
“Elijah was an outgoing, loving young kid. He loved dancing and football and loved his family. He made sure everyone was comfortable with his infectious smile. He loved going to school, and he loved his friends,” the message on the GoFundMe page reads.
“At a young tender age of 12, Elijah passed away playing football, doing what he loved,” the page adds.
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