A sixth-grade boy from New Jersey, Elijah Jordan Brown-Garcia, was pronounced dead after he collapsed during his football team’s running drills.
The 12-year-old boy was a student at KIPP Rise Academy in Newark, New Jersey, and became unresponsive during practice on February 10. After collapsing on the field, first responders escorted him to University Hospital, where he died shortly after his arrival.
When his mother, Raven spoke to local news outlets about the accident, she relayed that her son was a normal, healthy, middle school-aged boy. “He was so happy to be there. He didn’t know that it was going to be his last day,” she told News 12 in New Jersey.
“No contact. It was just drills, running back and forth. He didn’t get hit. He was a healthy kid…I don’t know why Friday night was his day.”
Raven went on to reveal that her 10-year-old son was also attending the practice and was the first person to call her when Elijah collapsed. The mother recalled, “I said, ‘What are they doing? What is anybody doing?’ And he said, ‘They are pouring water on him, and they are fanning him.’ And that’s when I got my kids together, and I said, ‘I’m on my way.’ “
Following Raven’s arrival at the practice, coaches informed her that CPR was not performed on Elijah, as none of the coaches were CPR certified. “When the coach called me yesterday…[he said,] ‘Sorry, none of us are CPR-certified,” she shared. “They are neglectful. You can’t run a team like that,”
Additionally, Elijah’s mother told reporters that she beat the ambulances there, and it took upwards of 30 minutes for the first responders to arrive. Had they been quicker to respond, it is possible Elijah would still be here today.
Elijah Garcia Brown’s mother reflects on what she misses most about her son.
“I miss his face. I miss him dancing…I just miss him. I miss everything about him,” Raven said of her eldest son. “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.”
She added the sentiments, “At a young tender age of 12, Elijah passed away playing football, doing what he loved. No amount is too small.”
A GoFundMe was set up to help support them in their time of need and raised over $36,000 for Elijah’s memorial services, surpassing its goal of $10,000.
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