WINDSOR, Conn. (WTNH) — A Windsor High School junior football player died Tuesday after losing consciousness at practice, according to officials.
Mayor Donald Trinks said the 15-year-old collapsed while doing drills at a “light” non-contact practice.
The student, identified as Elijah-Jay Mariano Rivera, was given immediate first aid by staff and was taken away in an ambulance. He later died at Connecticut Children’s.
Superintendent Terrell Hill issued a statement Wednesday following the teen’s death.
“I am deeply saddened to confirm the passing of one of our beloved Windsor High School students, Elijah-Jay Mariano Rivera,” Hill said. “During this challenging time, we extend our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends grappling with this unthinkable loss.”
Hill said Windsor High School and Sage Park Middle School have Crisis Intervention Teams available for students, parents and school personnel. Resources are also available on the district’s website.
News 8 spoke with Mariano Rivera’s teammates Wednesday, who called him “a fun guy on and off the field.”
“We were all having a walk-through because we had a bye-week. We’re all thinking everything is going good,” teammate Missoni Brown told News 8. “Every guy is getting his reps, and he just falls. We were all just taking a knee on the ‘W.’ Everyone was praying crying. We all got together. We couldn’t even look at him. We had to turn the other way because nobody wants to see that.”
Sam Alvarez, a junior at Windsor High School said everyone at school loved Mariano Rivera. Alvarez said he would help him with work and talk to him in class when no one else would.
Mariano Rivera’s teammates said he was a force on the football field, well over 6 feet tall and played guard on the offensive line. They said he was also a friend, well-liked and well-loved, who brought laughter and joy to the halls of Windsor High School.
The football team is planning to memorialize Mariano Rivera in an event at the team’s next home game.
The Celebration of Life Services will take place Wednesday, October 18 at 11 a.m. at Crossroads Community Cathedral Church located at 1492 Silver Ln. The burial will then follow at Cedar Hill Cemetery, located at 463 Fairfield Ave.