Memorial set for Saturday for boy who died during football practice, as family seeks answers

Elijah Brown-Garcia collapsed and died on Feb. 10 while practicing at West Side Park in Newark.

News 12 Staff

Feb 17, 2023, 10:18 PM

Updated 517 days ago

Share:

A memorial will be held on Saturday to remember a 12-year-old boy who died during football practice in Newark last week.
Elijah Brown-Garcia collapsed and died on Feb. 10 while practicing at West Side Park. As the family waits on the medical examiner to determine the exact cause of death, they say they have many questions regarding how Elijah died.
The family says that two things went wrong when he collapsed – none of the adults at the practice knew how to perform CPR and the family says it took 30 minutes for an ambulance to arrive.
“What happened that there was such a delayed response?” asks Tiffany Stradford, the boy’s aunt.
“We don’t want this to happen to anybody else’s child… My heart hurts so bad. All of our hearts hurt so bad,” says Donna Brown, his grandmother.
News 12 New Jersey reached out to University Hospital to ask about the possible delay in response.
A spokesperson wrote in a statement, "University Hospital extends its deepest condolences to the grieving family of this young person. For privacy reasons, however, UH cannot comment on protected health information regarding our patients, including confirmation of a patient's identity."
Family members say that they also wondered why officers from the 4th Precinct, which borders the park, didn't respond sooner. They say they know at least three people called 911.
Brown-Garcia played for the Big 21 United Youth Football League. He was performing practice drills when he collapsed.
The family says that the coach had walked away to get cigarettes before Brown-Garcia went down. They say that the players were being supervised by one of the players’ parents.
"Who’s going to answer for the fact that the person that we left our child with wasn't there when the emergency happened?” asks Sable Shelton, the boy's other aunt.
There is no law in New Jersey that says recreation coaches need to be certified in CPR.
Brown-Garcia's relatives say they will encourage people at Saturday’s memorial and balloon release to learn CPR.


More from News 12
0:36
Police: Borgata Hotel briefly evacuated after caller claims to have bomb

Police: Borgata Hotel briefly evacuated after caller claims to have bomb

2:13
Cooler temps overnight; sunny and warm Friday ahead for New Jersey

Cooler temps overnight; sunny and warm Friday ahead for New Jersey

13:51
'I’m not supposed to be here tonight.' Donald Trump recounts assassination attempt

'I’m not supposed to be here tonight.' Donald Trump recounts assassination attempt

2:14
Property taxes increase in New Jersey towns as state slashes school funding

Property taxes increase in New Jersey towns as state slashes school funding

1:39
New Jersey environmental justice law won't block power plant hotly fought by Newark residents

New Jersey environmental justice law won't block power plant hotly fought by Newark residents

1:53
Hundreds of Hunterdon and Somerset county residents clean up following intense Tuesday storms

Hundreds of Hunterdon and Somerset county residents clean up following intense Tuesday storms

1:57
Prosecutor: Director of Brick Township Rec Department issued phony permits to play on ballfields

Prosecutor: Director of Brick Township Rec Department issued phony permits to play on ballfields

0:44
Jersey Proud: Union Township elementary school students participate in junior police academy

Jersey Proud: Union Township elementary school students participate in junior police academy

0:22
Police: 7 passengers on adult day care bus taken to hospital after crash in East Orange

Police: 7 passengers on adult day care bus taken to hospital after crash in East Orange

1:01
Newark officials tout city’s Summer Youth Employment Program

Newark officials tout city’s Summer Youth Employment Program

1:44
Select NJ Transit trains not operating due to heat-related rail equipment issues

Select NJ Transit trains not operating due to heat-related rail equipment issues

1:48
How often do meteors enter Earth’s atmosphere?

How often do meteors enter Earth’s atmosphere?

0:24
Jackson father accused of leaving infant in hot car released from jail

Jackson father accused of leaving infant in hot car released from jail

1:22
Best Beaches: Having fun at Keansburg Amusement Park

Best Beaches: Having fun at Keansburg Amusement Park

1:29
Moderate drought expands in Central New Jersey and in regions in Northern New Jersey

Moderate drought expands in Central New Jersey and in regions in Northern New Jersey

1:46
Saddle up at Wild West City in Byram Township

Saddle up at Wild West City in Byram Township

0:25
State police: Missing Irvington man found dead almost 3 weeks after his disappearance

State police: Missing Irvington man found dead almost 3 weeks after his disappearance

0:25
Former Wall Township High School teacher accused of sexual assault faces additional charges

Former Wall Township High School teacher accused of sexual assault faces additional charges

0:35
Man tosses dog over fence in front of Atlantic City animal shelter

Man tosses dog over fence in front of Atlantic City animal shelter

0:19
Closing arguments in Evan Gershkovich’s espionage trial will be Friday, court says

Closing arguments in Evan Gershkovich’s espionage trial will be Friday, court says