Family Demands Answers After 12-Year-Old Son Dies During Football Practice: 'He Was a Healthy Kid'
The family of a 12-year-old New Jersey boy who died earlier this month at a football practice is lashing out over the boy’s death.
Elijah Jordan Brown-Garcia of Newark died on Feb. 10, according to the Daily Mail.
“He didn't get hit, like no contact or anything. He ran about 20 yards, said he was going to take a little break. I don't think he took enough time,” Elijah's brother Mekhi, who was at the practice, said.
His mother, Raven Brown, said she has no idea why her son collapsed.
“He was a healthy kid … I don’t know why Friday night was his day,” she said, according to News12. “He was so happy to be there. He didn’t know that it was going to be his last day.”
She said the practice was “no contact. It was just drills, running back and forth. He didn’t get hit.”
Brown said Mekhi, 10, was the one to tell her his brother had collapsed, she said.
“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,’” Brown said.
She said she is fuming over two things she thinks that could have saved her son -- someone to perform CPR at the scene and a faster response time from the ambulance.
12-year-old Elijah Brown-Garci died during football practice in Newark, New Jersey. His heart stopped and no one on the team knew CPR. Can we please teach CPR in High Schools and make it mandatory that coaches know CPR? It saves lives! https://t.co/1RqSBNCvJg
— Larry Mendte (@LarryMendte) February 17, 2023
According to News12, family members said the team’s coach had temporarily left the practice to get cigarettes and that at the time of the tragedy, a parent was supervising the team.
"Who’s going to answer for the fact that the person that we left our child with wasn't there when the emergency happened?” Sable Shelton, Brown-Garcia’s aunt, said.
“When the coach called me yesterday…[he said] ‘Sorry, none of us are CPR-certified,” Brown said, according to News12.
"Those coaches out there, they need to be CPR certified," said Brown, according to WCBS-TV.
New Jersey requires schools to have defibrillators present at practices and athletic events, as well as at least one person trained in administering CPR. There is no such requirement on youth recreation leagues.
Brown told News12 it took three calls before an ambulance arrived.
“I beat the ambulance there. Like 30-40 minutes. It took them a long time,” she said.
"I miss his face. I miss him dancing. I just miss him. I miss everything about him," Brown said.
“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,” his mother said on the GoFundMe page in which she sought donations. “At a young tender age of 12, Elijah passed away playing football, doing what he loved.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.