RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com) — An emotional vigil was held Wednesday for an Arlington High School football player who collapsed during a scrimmage last week.
Tyler Lewellen, 16, died Tuesday and his team, and school, have been devastated about the sudden death.
Lewellen was hospitalized on Aug. 22 after he was injured during a practice game at Rubidoux High School. The 11th grader was tackled during a play, got up, walked to the sidelines and collapsed.
CBS2’s Tom Wait talked to friends and family at the vigil and prayer service and each told him that Lewellen was a special person who was always happy and willing to help others.
“He always had us pumped up at games, he always made us laugh. He made everybody laugh,” said senior football player Gabriel Tapia. He knew Tyler since they were both young kids.
“[Tyler] really impacted my life. Such a great guy. I didn’t go to school with him but I’ve heard all the amazing stories. Like I know he stopped kids from getting bullied at Arlington and everything,” said Katie Crane.
Arlington Coach Patrick McCarthy said Lewellen was hit in a normal tackle.
“It was nothing you would say ‘Oh my gosh,’ or anything,” said McCarthy, “Just a normal tackle.”
“He came off the sidelines,” said Tapia, “He said his mouth was hurting, he threw up, and then he passed out.”
One of the pastors told Wait that the family donated Lewellen’s organs.
The cause of Lewellen’s death remains under investigation.