A heartbreaking incident occurred last Friday during a football practice, where a 12-year-old boy tragically collapsed and passed away. The parents of Elijah Jordon Brown-Garcia now advocate for all youth sports coaches to be trained in CPR – a crucial life-saving skill that could have made a difference.
The family firmly believes that if one of the coaches had known CPR, their beloved Elijah might still be alive today. “You have adults that are supposed to be in charge of our kids and they don’t have the bare minimum when it comes to CPR or being able to realize what is an emergency and what’s not,” expressed Sable Shelton, Elijah’s aunt.
This devastating incident occurred during a practice for the Essex County Predators, a recreational team, in Newark, New Jersey. Elijah had been participating in a light football drill when, without any contact or warning signs, he suddenly collapsed.
Elijah’s younger brother, Mekhi Stradford, who was also present at the practice, described the sequence of events. “He ran about 20 yards, said he was going to take a little break. I don’t think he took enough time,” Mekhi shared.
Upon Elijah’s collapse, Mekhi promptly called their mother, while another parent dialed 911. Shockingly, although witnesses called for emergency medical services and waited anxiously for over 30 minutes, no one administered CPR. Additionally, no one sought help from the nearby police precinct, just a few hundred yards away from the practice field.
“I have three other kids, and I had to get them dressed and ready. I got there, and the ambulance still wasn’t there, and I called when I got there. They were literally on their way,” stated Elijah’s devastated mother, Raven Brown.
By the time EMS finally arrived, it was tragically too late.
Elijah’s grieving family now advocates for mandatory CPR training for all coaches involved in youth sports. Shockingly, New Jersey does not require this life-saving skill to be part of a coach’s training.
“The coach wasn’t there, and he told me none of us are CPR certified, but I’m gonna do my best to make sure that all of us become CPR certified,” affirmed Brown, Elijah’s mother.
“We have this conversation about football all the time when it comes to them big, known players. But why don’t we have the bare minimum for the children, the kids – and my nephew had to witness it,” exclaimed Shelton, expressing her dismay.
Let’s unite in raising awareness about this urgent issue. Share this post to stand up for the necessity of mandatory CPR training for anyone working with children. It’s time to ensure the safety and well-being of our young athletes.