LEXINGTON, Okla. - It’s been nearly a month since a Lexington teen tragically lost his life due to an accident at a junior high football game.
“No parents should ever have to lose a child. No sibling or twin should have to bury their twin or sibling. It’s just the most unnatural thing that could ever possibly happen,” said Natalie Boatwright, Riley’s sister.
Thirteen-year-old Riley Boatwright’s life was cut short after a tragic accident while playing the sport he loved.
“Riley was hardworking. He worked like a man with everything that he did,” Natalie said. “Riley was an old soul. Riley was golden. He was just gold. He was an all-American boy.”
The family said he took a hard hit during the first five minutes of the game on September 24.
“By the time the ambulance was aware that we were down and needed help, it was 15 minutes before they got to that field,” Natalie said.
Riley died later that night after being taken to a hospital in Purcell. The family said he suffered a traumatic brain injury. But they can’t help but wonder what would have happened had an ambulance already been there.
“I know it was the difference in life and death with Riley,” said Riley’s cousin Regina Faught.
But now they’re working to change that. They have collected thousands of signatures online in just five days, with the hopes of getting an ambulance at all junior high and high school football games.
“I think Riley would be proud,” Faught said. “But at no point does a child ever plan on going out on a field or does a parent ever plan on showing up to be a child’s biggest cheerleader, plan on burying them because of playing an everyday sport.”
But they’re not stopping there. The goal is to eventually make it a requirement at all school-age sporting events.
“This is not a blame game. This is not that we’re saying, ‘This person should have done this,’ or ‘These people should have done this.’ This is about moving forward from this day forward so that no other family ever has to do this again,” Faught said.
Riley would have celebrated his 14th birthday on Friday, October 18, along with his twin brother.
In his honor, Riley’s brother will be hosting a balloon release for the community at Noble Cemetery. The event is open to the public and will begin at 6 p.m.
The family is still collecting signatures for their petition, which you can find by clicking here.