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Posted: August 10, 2017

New York high school student dies after injury at football practice

A high school student (not pictured) died during pre-season practice drills at Sachem High School East in Farmingville, New York, Thursday morning.
YinYang/Getty Images
A high school student (not pictured) died during pre-season practice drills at Sachem High School East in Farmingville, New York, Thursday morning.

By Kelcie Willis, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

FARMINGVILLE, N.Y. —

An 11th grader is dead after an injury at pre-season football practice during a drill Thursday morning.

WCBS reported that Joshua Mileto, 16, a student at Sachem High School East in Farmingville, New York, died during a routine drill .

As part of the conditioning drill, several athletes were carrying a large log over their heads. Witnesses said two players fell and the log struck Joshua in the head, causing massive injuries. CPR was attempted on the field. WABC reported he was in cardiac arrest when he was taken off the field.

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Suffolk County Police Assistant Commissioner Justin Meyers told Newsday.com the injury was reported at 8:40 a.m. and Joshua was transported to Stony Brook University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Another student was also injured at 10:30 a.m. and was taken to the same hospital. Meyers did not release the player’s name, but confirmed he has non-life threatening injuries.

“The district is devastated by this horrific accident and words cannot express the grief we feel as a school community,” Sachem Central School District Superintendent Kenneth Graham said in a statement Thursday. “We extend our deepest condolences to the student’s family and friends during this terribly difficult time.”

“We have enacted our Crisis Intervention Team and support services will be made available to students and staff for as long as needed as we mourn and try to cope with this loss.”

Official practice begins Monday for high school football in New York, Newsday.com reported. According to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Handbook, contact is not allowed for the first two days of official practice. After five days, teams can have full contact practice.

NYSPHSAA executive director Robert Zayas said that the rule for off-season practice is that it cannot be mandatory. Otherwise, there are no state-mandated restrictions on off-season practice drills, and it is up to the school to determine if a coach or medical personnel are there. 

“Sometimes coaches are in attendance and sometimes trainers are there, but it can’t be mandatory,” Tom Combs, the executive director of Section XI, the governing body of Suffolk County high school athletics, told Newsday.com. “It’s up to the individual schools on how they handle offs-eason workouts.”

The death is being investigated by Suffolk County Police Homicide Squad detectives. Anyone with information is asked to contact them at 631-852-6392.


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