A 15-year-old Texas teen who had just moved to Connecticut collapsed and died Tuesday afternoon during practice at his Windsor High School.
Elijah-Jay Mariano Rivera, nicknamed “Big Tex”, by friends and teammates was not “engaged in any football drills or tackling” when he collapsed, school officials said.
Rivera suddenly lost consciousness before the coaching staff rushed to his side to provide emergency aid. He was then taken to Connecticut Children’s in Hartford where he passed away.
“I looked over, and he was just passed out,” teammate Maxim Copeland recalled. “We separated, took a knee and prayed.”
“We got on the ‘W’ and prayed and took our helmets off and prayed and hoped for the best. We went to the hospital to try and make sure he was good and his family was good.”
The late teen was new to the area but still managed to befriend a lot of teens who held a vigil to mourn him Tuesday evening.
“He was a great dude, uplifting dude,” teammate Chase Royal said. “Every time you see him, he has just smiles on his face. He loved to be around and just loved the community. He was a great, genuine guy.”