RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com) — The family of an Arlington High School junior who died after a football scrimmage is still looking for answers.
Tyler Lewellen, 16, of Riverside, died at a hospital after suffering seizures and losing consciousness on the sideline following a tackle during a football scrimmage on Aug. 22.
Tyler’s mother, Tina York, was in the car after picking up his father, Bobby, from home when Bobby received a phone call.
“As I turned the corner I heard him say, ‘Where is he?’ and the tone of his voice, I knew there was something wrong,” Tina said.
Tyler was being rushed to the hospital in an ambulance at the time of the phone call, and Tina recalls feeling something she had never felt before.
“At that moment, it was as if an angel or the Lord just wrapped me in their arms, because I felt something come around me,” Tina said. “Like you, as if you would wrap a child in a towel when they come out of the pool.”
At the hospital, Lewellen’s parents learned that Tyler was suffering from swelling and bleeding in the brain, and would require a risky surgery to relieve the pressure.
“They only game him a 4 to 8 percent chance of surviving the operation,” Bobby York said.
Tyler survived the surgery, but passed away six days later.
It is unclear whether the tackle the teen made shortly before collapsing was the cause of sudden swelling, and the coroner’s tests continue as no answers have been given to his family.
“He got sick and then pitched forward and went into seizures,” Tina said. “He had a series of about six small seizures, lost consciousness and he just never regained consciousness.”
Throughout Tyler’s time at the hospital, friends — and even strangers — were showing up to show support by the dozens.
In the days surrounding Tyler’s death, vigils and memorial services were quickly organized.
Tyler, popular in the community, was known for his ability to make everyone feel included.
True to that nature, Tyler allowed his organs — including his heart — to be donated.
“I wanted to follow it wherever it went so I could meet the person in a few days, they explained it to us,” Bobby said. “Tyler is giving a gift.”
“This could drive people apart. It could bring them together. I’ve never been closer to (Tina) or our daughters. In tough times, you know what family you can count on.”