NEWARK, N.J. (PIX11) – A family and school community are devastated after the death of a 12-year-old boy who collapsed during football practice in Newark, New Jersey.
Elijah Brown-Garcia was a sixth-grader at KIPP Rise Academy, the school said in a statement announcing the boy’s passing. According to a GoFundMe page, Elijah was “playing football, doing what he loved” when he collapsed and died on Friday.
“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 GoFundMe page states.
The boy’s family is still searching for answers following his death. The family said an ambulance took about 40 minutes to show up after the initial 911 call was placed after Elijah collapsed on the field.
The boy’s mother claims no one at the football practice knew CPR, according to multiple published reports. Elijah’s family said he never previously showed signs of a health problem.
The football practice appears to be unaffiliated with Elijah’s school. The team running the practice, the Essex County Predators, posted a memorial to Elijah on its Instagram page.
“Our Hearts are crushed and our condolences scream out to the family of our very own Elijah E2 Brown We love You,” the post states.
The Predators are part of the Big 21 United Youth Football Conference. A spokesperson told PIX11 news they are unable to comment.
School officials said the boy would be “deeply missed” by everyone in the KIPP Rise Academy.
“We ask that you keep Elijah’s family in your hearts during this difficult time. If you are able to support his family as they navigate this tragedy, consider donating to their GoFundMe page. Rest in peace, Elijah,” the statement concluded.
The KIPP Rise Academy community plans to memorialize Elijah with a balloon release at Westside Park on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
Funeral arraignments have also been announced. A viewing will be held on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Fountain Baptist Church in Summit, New Jersey. The funeral service will immediately follow.
The cause of death has not been released. PIX11 reached out to the City Department of Public Safety for comment. They referred PIX11 to the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, which said they don’t have the case.