ANAHEIM HILLS ( — An incoming Orange County high school freshman football player died during warm-ups on Wednesday.

KCAL9’s Michele Gile reported that Mitchell Cook, 14, collapsed on the football field around 4:15 p.m. just before the beginning of regular practice at Canyon High School in Anaheim Hills.

Witness Dawson McMullen said Cook walked by him and fell to the ground.

“We were just getting lined up to start a drill again. He was going back to his spot, he was walking right past me. I looked down, he was walking, he was fine. I turned back over and heard him hit the ground. I saw him shaking and stuff,” he said.

Administrators said Cook was given CPR by the coaches, as well as an off-duty fireman. He was then rushed to the hospital, but later died.

Friends, staff and members of the community paid their respects Thursday at a memorial that was put up near the football field.

Mementos from Cook’s life, such as his football cleats, a helmet, a skateboard, and his favorite video game, were hung on a fence.

“I came today because, you know, I just wanted to pay my respects,” said former student Mike Roman. “When you play football, it’s basically a family. Even if you don’t know the person, you still have to pay your respects. They’re part of your family. Football is about being one; a unity.”

It’s unclear whether Cook had a preexisting condition, but all athletes are required to have medical clearance.

A candlelight vigil is being planned for the weekend.

Canyon High School will provide mental health and counseling services to anyone who needs assistance through the grieving process.


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