CROWLEY, Texas - An eighth-grade football player died after suffering a medical emergency during practice.
Kyrell McBride-Johnson was a student at Summer Creek Middle School in Crowley, which is south of Fort Worth.
Coaches rushed to help Kyrell when he collapsed on the field Wednesday afternoon. They performed CPR on the 13-year-old, but the Crowley Independent School District said he was unresponsive when paramedics took him to the hospital.
Kyrell was pronounced dead at Cook Children’s Medical Center.
Monica McBride-Debbs says her son was a healthy boy. He passed his physical exam with no red flags and had no known heart conditions.
“It just hasn't set in yet because Kyrell was a healthy boy,” she said.
Known mostly for his success as a sprinter, Kyrell switched up this year and decided to play football. And about as much as he loved competing in athletics, his mom says he loved to dance.
“He is like a shining star,” Monica said. “You put him in a room. He's gonna light up the whole room. He likes to dance."
When Kyrell collapsed on the practice field during a water break, his mom had been watching practice from the car. She had water for him there, which he'd been coming to drink.
“He passed up the water as if he was coming to me and his body just started moving in these different ways,” Monica recalled. “And he just locked and turned and fell. Just collapsed.”
It was only the team’s second practice.
“He wanted to play football this year,” Monica said. “And he told his Paw Paw, ‘Tomorrow is a big day because they were going to teach them how to run routes.’ He didn't know how to run routes.”
Aside from asthma which hadn’t flared up for years, Monica says she knew him to be in great health. With Kyrell’s autopsy pending, she wants answers.
“I want to know because I had a healthy boy,” she said. “He ran track like I said for Hallmark Eagles with no problem. And you know it’s hot. Last year, it was hot. And he ran the full season with no medical issues. Nothing."
The Crowley ISD superintendent sent a letter to parents and staff saying how saddened the school district is and letting people know that grief counselors are available.
A spokesperson for the district said that Crowley is playing Mansfield in football this season. Johnson went to Mansfield ISD last year. The two districts are now planning a tribute to him at the football game between the two schools.