Family of California prep player who died says he asked for water

Giovanni Pulido

Giovanni Pulido (Family photo)

The family of a California high school football player who died earlier this week at a conditioning practice says 15-year-old Giovanni Pulido’s request for water was denied.

The family believes Pulido died of dehydration. The Alameda County coroner’s office has not yet released autopsy results.

“We would just like parents to know that they should be careful when their kids (are) playing sports,” a statement issued by Pulido’s uncle, Sergio Mejia-Navarro, to the East Bay Times said. “We were informed by several people that he kept asking for water. And I guess the team only gets one water break. Which if it’s true, it’s not right. They could have prevented this.”

Pulido collapsed and died after practice Tuesday at Encinal High in Alameda.

A school district spokeswoman told the East Bay Times that she could not comment on the circumstances around Pulido’s death and said the investigation in ongoing. The spokeswoman said she did not know if an athletic trainer was at the practice. Police also are conducting an investigation as a matter of routine and said there is no indication of anything suspicious.

The family said Giovanni had no health problems.

The family went on to say that Pulido loved football and dreamed of playing in the NFL.

“Even as a little boy, Gio was serious about his flag football team and played like he was a pro football player,” the family added. “He dreamed of making (it) into the NFL and was determined to be a star on his high school team. He didn’t want to do it for the fame but to provide for his mom, who he loved with every ounce in his body, and little sister Stella, Ruby and baby brother Liam.”

“Gio had so much love to give, a great sense of humor, which would put a smile on everyone’s face, and loved to laugh. Several of his classmates stated that Gio would always remind them to appreciate what they have in life, especially family.”

The family has set up a GoFundMe page at to help with funeral expenses.

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