The parents and coaches of a 13-year-old Waldwick boy who died during football practice were at a loss today to explain why the seemingly healthy athlete collapsed while running drills on a mild summer night.
“There were no signs of this whatsoever,” the boy’s father, James Fisher, said in an interview in the family’s home. “He was strong.”
“Yesterday was his birthday, yesterday he was 13,” said the father, who could not hold back the tears as he spoke. “We had gotten gifts.”
Sean Fisher had been practicing with other 7th and 8-graders in the Waldwick Junior Football Association Monday night when he fell to the ground, said Ray Jimenez, a coach and the league’s president.
“He just dropped,” Jimenez said.
Jimenez ran for a phone to call in the emergency while the father of another player – an emergency medical technician – came down from the bleachers to perform CPR. Jimenez then raced to his car to find the health form that Fisher’s parents had submitted when the teen signed up to play with the league for the first time this summer.
“I wanted to see if there was any medical condition listed on the form, but there wasn’t,” Jimenez said.
“He was very loving," Shelia Fisher said. "He was really coming into his personality.” When Sheila Fisher got the call about her son, she was at home making cupcakes for the celebration they’d planned for Sean’s birthday last night. They raced to the field, where paramedics were using a defibrillator to try to revive their son.
“When we got there, they were working on him,” Sean’s father said.
James Fisher said his son was pale and wasn’t moving. The couple followed their son’s ambulance in a police car as he was rushed to The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, where he was pronounced dead.
My son is 12, and he will turn 13 in a few weeks. He is strong, funny, engaging, brilliantly intelligent. He is my heart.
Tonight, he starts practicing in full pads. I heard this on the radio yesterday, on the way to football practice. I just read the story and saw this young man's face...and the awful, anguished faces of his parents...today. I can imagine so clearly how they feel, their pain, but I dont want to imagine it too much. It is too close to home for me. This boy of mine loves this game, he has eaten slept and breathed football since he was 3 years old. And he is good at it.
How can you not feel a connection, not absolutely ache for that mom, when everyday we make the same trek to the football field? I am sending a prayer today to this family, and for all of the little boys I watch every afternoon, dreaming huge dreams and trying to push themselves ever harder. God, please keep my boy safe, I just could not stand to lose another son. And God, please send that grieving mother the peace and comfort of your presence.