Mother of Middle School Football Player Who Died on Practice Field Sues CareNow

Lawsuit: Physician’s assistant wrongly cleared 13-year-old who reported chest pain

DALLAS – The mother of a Crowley middle school student, who watched her son collapse on a football practice field in 2018, has filed suit against CareNow and the physician’s assistant who cleared him to practice.

Kyrell McBride-Johnson was 13 years old when he and his mother, Monica Debbs, went to CareNow for a physical, where she and Kyrell answered “yes” to three questions:

  • Have you ever had chest pain during or after exercise?
  • Have you ever become ill from exercising in the heat?
  • Do you have asthma?

Kyrell also told the physician’s assistant who examined him that he sometimes felt his heart skip a beat. Despite his answers, the physician’s assistant cleared him to participate in football practice. Six days later, he was dead.

“This young man didn’t have to die and he wouldn’t have died if CareNow and the P.A. had done their jobs the right way,” said attorney Reid Martin of Martin Walker in Tyler, who represents Ms. Debbs. “Simply put, he had no business being on that practice field. He should still be alive today.”

Since her son’s death, Ms. Debbs has dedicated herself to making sure other mothers don’t have to experience anything such as she did. She formed Kyrell’s First Quarter Foundation to provide automatic external defibrillators – AEDs – and CPR training to high school coaches and athletes.

She plans to provide the next such training and donate an AED on Sept. 1 at 6 p.m. at the Highland Hills Recreation Center in Fort Worth.

“This is my way of making sure that my son did not die in vain,” Ms. Debbs says. “If I can keep just one other mom from feeling the pain that I have felt, then all of this will have been worth it.”

The case is Monica Debbs, Individually and as heir of the Estate of K.M.J. vs. Primary Health, Inc. et al., Cause No. DC-20-11300 in the District Court of Dallas County, Texas.

Martin Walker PC is a Tyler-based law firm with significant trial expertise representing individuals and businesses in high-stakes litigation, including medical malpractice, catastrophic injuries involving 18-wheeler accidents, oilfield injuries, wrongful death, and product liability. For more information visit:

Media Contact:
Mark Annick

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