In Windsor, Connecticut, a 15-year-old high school football player tragically lost his life following a medical emergency during practice, according to local officials. The young athlete, Elijah-Jay Mariano Rivera, was a recent addition to Windsor High School and the local community, having moved from Texas.
Rivera, affectionately known by his teammates as “Big Tex,” was not participating in any strenuous football drills or tackling when he suddenly lost consciousness on Tuesday afternoon, stated Windsor Public Schools Superintendent Terrell Hill. The coaching staff promptly administered first aid while awaiting the arrival of an ambulance.
Emergency medical technicians and police officers continued CPR efforts upon their arrival. Despite their best efforts, Rivera was pronounced dead after being transported to Connecticut Children’s in Hartford. The cause of his sudden death remains unknown.
Despite being new to Windsor, Rivera had quickly established strong bonds with his peers and was highly regarded by his teammates. In his memory, they held a vigil on Tuesday evening, arranging candles on the football field to spell out “Eli” and “65,” Rivera’s jersey number.
In honor of Rivera, his teammates plan to carry his jersey onto the field during their next game. To support students and staff during this difficult time, crisis teams will be available at Windsor High School and Sage Park Middle School, Superintendent Hill announced.
As the community mourns the loss of Rivera, Superintendent Hill expressed the community’s commitment to supporting Rivera’s family. “As a community, we want to keep his family in our thoughts and prayers and support them moving forward, however we can,” Hill said.