Mother demands answers after 12-year-old boy collapses and dies during football practice

A 12-year-old boy has died after collapsing during a no-contact football practice in New Jersey.

Elijah Jordan Brown-Garcia became unresponsive on 10 February during a drill at KIPP Rise Academy in Newark, News 12 New Jersey reported. He was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead later.

His mother, Raven Brown, said she was first informed that Elijah had collapsed by her 10-year-old son, who was also at practice. He told her that school officials poured water on Elijah’s face in an attempt for him to regain consciousness but did not perform CPR.

Recounting the conversation with her surviving son, Ms Brown told News 12: “I [asked], ‘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.’”

“He was so happy to be there. He didn’t know that it was going to be his last day,” Ms Brown said of Elijah.

Elijah, a sixth-grade student, played for the Essex County Predators league.

“Our Hearts are crushed and our condolences [go out] out to the family of our very own Elijah E2 Brown,” the league said in a statement on Instagram. “We love You.”

Ms Brown said that her son did not get hit during the drill and that he did not have any health issues.

She is now demanding to know why CPR was not performed on Elijah.

The ambulance that transported him to the hospital took 30-40 minutes to arrive at the school, CBS also reported.

Elijah, a sixth-grade student, played for the Essex County Predators league (CBS/Screenshot)
Elijah, a sixth-grade student, played for the Essex County Predators league (CBS/Screenshot)

A balloon release was held on Saturday in honour of the 12-year-old.

His cause of death has not been released, according to News12.

Conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have falsely argued that recent sudden deaths stem from vaccination. According to research by the Mayo Clinic and the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association, sudden cardiac death has been the leading cause of death among high school athletes for years — but they have not spiked post-Covid.

Some states require schools to have automated external defibrillators (AED) to respond to those events. In New Jersey, Janet’s Law requires every school to have an AED available in an unlocked location on school property.

The law also requires at least five coaches or staff to have CPR training.