A young athlete collapsed and died while walking to a friend’s house Friday, the day before he was set to start at 3rd base for his baseball team. Coaches of the 14-year-old boy initially canceled the game, but his teammates wanted to play in his honor.
Nadir King was walking to the Sewell, N.J. home of a friend, who became worried when Nadir never arrived. The Chestnut Ridge 8th grader was found lying in the grass along the street.
Stanley King, the 14-year-old boy’s father, and others performed CPR on Nadir until paramedics arrived.
“We were unsuccessful,” said Stanley, as he sat alongside his wife, Sharon.
Authorities, unsure of what caused his death, will be testing tissue samples.
His death was a shock to his teammates, who played baseball with Nadir as part of the Washington Township Minutemen.
“I love him and my prayers to his family,” Nick DeAngelis, his teammate, said while holding back tears.
The Minutemen’s coach, Larry Meglino, has been watching Nadir – the fastest kid on the team -- play since he was 9-years-old.
“When we would warm up, he’d be the first one to want to run around the whole field,” Meglino said. “If it was quiet in the dugout, he would say something and get everybody to laugh. It would put it in perspective that they are just kids having fun.”
Still stunned by the news of Nadir’s death, Meglino began calling the parents of the rest of the boys on the team to let them know what happened and that the game Saturday would be canceled.
“But after talking with the team, most of them wanted to play for him,” he said. “It is their way of doing what they can to help the situation.”
“Sitting home not doing anything might weigh on them more than coming out and actually playing and contributing in a way,” Meglino added.
The South Jersey Braves, the opposing team, agreed to move the game -- originally scheduled to be played at their field – to the Minutemen’s turf.
The players painted 16 – Nadir’s jersey number -- on their faces in honor of their friend.
“We're flattered that the team, the coaches and even the opposing team would choose to honor Nadir in this fashion,” Stanley said.
Meglino says he already ordered patches displaying Nadir’s initials that all 200 players on the Washington Township travel teams will wear on their uniforms. Jerseys with the number 16 are also on the way for each one of Nadir’s teammates, he said.
“That was his number and we’ll wear them every Sunday,” Meglino said.
The Minutemen defeated the Braves, winning by one run.
The final score was 10 to nine, but halfway through the game the scoreboard froze.
The sign showed the score tied at 16.