Elijah-Jay Mariano Rivera passed away following his loss of consciousness while practicing with his high school football team. The sudden passing of the junior has left the high school and community shocked and saddened.
Rivera was on a field with the Windsor High School (Conn.) football team on Tuesday afternoon when he lost consciousness, requiring police and emergency service personnel to provide CPR. According to reporting by the Associated Press, he was rushed to a nearby hospital but did not regain consciousness.
At the time of the incident, Rivera was not participating in contact drills.
In a message posted to the school district’s website, superintendent Dr. Terrell Hill confirmed the passing of Rivera:
“During this challenging time, we extend our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends who are grappling with this unthinkable loss.”
In his statement, Dr. Hill said that the school is providing support teams to help students, staff and families affected by the passing of Rivera.
Following his collapse, members of the football team took a knee on the team’s logo at midfield. They gathered to pray and compose themselves.
Rivera was a new student who was nicknamed “Big Tex” by his classmates. He was an offensive lineman and part of Windsor’s 2025 graduating class.
“He was a great dude, uplifting dude. 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,” teammate Chase Royal told WFSB Hartford.