ANAHEIM (CBSLA.com) — A candlelight vigil was held Saturday evening for a teen who died during football practice earlier this week.
Mitchell Cook was 14.
KCAL9’s Brittney Hopper reported from the vigil attended by Cook’s friends, family and even opposing players who came to show their respects.
Hopper reported that the evening was very emotional for the dozens of people who turned out.
Cook’s father, Jim Cook, addressed the crowd saying, “Nothing can prepare you for this.”
He then told the crowd how much he is going to miss his son.
Many of his fellow teammates openly wept.
One friend said, “It’s been devastating. Just such a sad thing to hear about. It’s sad.”
Cook died Wednesday following warm-ups for freshman football practice.
A school fence has turned into a memorial with people leaving notes, loving messages and flowers. Cook’s helmet and cleats are also hanging on the fence.
“I just remember how excited he was to start [high] school,” said another friend, “I just wish he could be here with us.”
Family members told Hopper that sports were always important to Mitchell.
His father said he was a great kid who always had a smile on his face. He thanked the community for their thoughts and prayers.
“I’m really happy that everybody is here tonight. Take care of your kids, understand how fragile life is. Because I tell you, this is going to be the toughest time of my life,” said Jim Cook, choking back tears.
Hopper says an autopsy is pending to determine the teen’s exact cause of death.