A 12-year-old New Jersey boy collapsed and died during a no-contact football practice — and his family has blasted the league as “neglectful” because none of the coaches knew CPR.
Elijah Jordan Brown-Garcia, a sixth-grade student at KIPP Rise Academy, was practicing with the Essex County Predators last Friday when he dropped to the ground and became unresponsive, his family told News 12.
“No contact. It was just drills running back and forth. He didn’t get hit,” his mother, Raven Brown, told the outlet.
“He was a healthy kid…I don’t know why Friday night was his day.”
Elijah’s 10-year-old brother, who was also at the practice, called their mother to tell her that the coaches — none of whom were CPR-certified — were trying to revive the young player.
“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,’” says Brown.
Brown called an ambulance as she rushed to the field, and coaches also called twice, but Brown made it to her son before emergency personnel.
She said it took 30-40 minutes for the ambulance to arrive. Elijah was rushed to the hospital, where he died.
The next day, Elijah’s coach called Brow to apologize.
“‘Sorry, none of us are CPR-certified,’” the coach allegedly told the grieving mother.
New Jersey state law requires at least one person to be CPR-certified at state school events and to have a defibrillator on standby.
“They are neglectful. You can’t run a team like that,” Brown says.
Brown and her family are considering taking legal action against the group that runs the football league, she said. The team acknowledged Elijah’s passing, but didn’t provide a comment to News 12 because of an ongoing investigation.
Officials are still looking into Elijah’s cause of death.
His mother said Elijah had never had any prior health issues and had gone to school earlier in the day without problems.
Playing on the football team was his favorite thing to do, his mother said.
“He was so happy to be there. He didn’t know that it was going to be his last day,” Brown said.
“I miss his face. I miss him dancing…I just miss him. I miss everything about him,” Brown says.