Rival Teams Join Together to Honor 13-Year-Old Who Died Following Football Practice - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Rival Teams Join Together to Honor 13-Year-Old Who Died Following Football Practice

Kyrell McBride Johnson collapsed during a football practice on Aug. 20

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    Teams Honor 13-Year-Old Who Died Following Football Practice

    It's been nearly a month since a 13-year-old boy collapsed and died during his middle school football practice in Crowley. The Tarrant County Medical Examiner still hasn't released a cause of death. But on Tuesday night, his teammates and their rivals on the field came together to honor his life. (Published Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018)

    It's been nearly a month since a 13-year-old boy collapsed and died during his middle school football practice in Crowley.

    The Tarrant County Medical Examiner still hasn't released a cause of death. But on Tuesday night, his teammates and their rivals on the field came together to honor his life.

    On the field at North Crowley High School, the band was playing and the spirit was strong. It looked like any football night in Texas, until you notice the subtle signs: a framed jersey on the sidelines and T-shirts throughout the stands stamped with three letters.

    "Nobody's going to forget about KMJ, Kyrell McBride Johnson," said Kyrell’s mother Monica McBride Debbs.

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    Kyrell chose to start playing football when he moved to a new school this fall, Summer Creek Middle School in Crowley.

    "I run so fast and I want them to call my name," Debbs said. "He said they will be calling my name."

    But Kyrell never made it to hear the fans cheering him on. He collapsed during practice on Aug. 22 and passed away. It's still not clear what happened.

    "It's not the same. It's very hurtful," Debbs said.

    But Tuesday night, a little bit of Kyrell's dream came true when the announcer's voice boomed before the start of the game: "Kyrell McBride Johnson was an eighth grade student and a member of the football team."

    His name called out under the lights, as teammates from his new school and his old one, Howard Middle School in Mansfield, locked arms to honor him.

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    "Please join us for a moment of silence in memory of Kyrell McBride Johnson," the announcer said.

    In the silence, Kyrell's mother could hear how much quieter her life has become without her dancing, outgoing boy.

    "He is like a shining star, he lights up a room," Debbs said.

    But she could also see his living memory, and her mission.

    "My son, he lived his first quarter of his life and hey, his mom is going to continue his legacy on," said Debbs. "That name will ring forever, it will."

    Tuesday was also Debbs' birthday. She said the game and ceremony felt like a bittersweet gift from her son.

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    Kyrell had no known health conditions. The medical examiner expects to release a cause of death by the end of November.

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