Sorrow and also also also Scrutiny After a Teenager’s Death at Football Practice

“My immediate thought is usually in which Navy SEAL training is usually brutally hard, generally, for men from the mid-20s who are some of the best athletes from the whole world. and also also also most of them don’t make the item through the training,” said Dr. Casa, the chief executive of the Korey Stringer Institute, an organization based in Connecticut focused on preventing the deaths of athletes. “Most of the best athletes from the earth can’t make the item through. This kind of is usually not a Great idea for kids to be doing.”

The attention has provoked a sense of defensiveness from the Sachem East community, which spans several mostly white, middle-class towns on Long Island. (Sachem East is usually one of two high schools from the district; Farmingville is usually part of the larger town of Brookhaven.) As they grieved, Sachem parents and also also also students remained careful not to point fingers and also also also were protective of the coaches overseeing the training camp where Mr. Mileto died. Many insisted the community needed to grieve before turning to the cause of the fatal accident.

“After he passed, people started off gravitating to asking, ‘What if we had done This kind of? What if we had done in which? What if we didn’t do in which drill?’ nevertheless in which’s the same thing in which happens in any tragedy,” said Ryan Leone, 20, a recent Sachem East graduate who was on the field visiting when Mr. Mileto was fatally injured. He helped the coaches, whom he knew, provide emergency aid to Mr. Mileto.

“These coaches would likely not have done something in which they didn’t feel comfortable supervising or in which would likely hurt the kids,’’ Mr. Leone said. “I think the item’s just wrong to look at the item coming from in which perspective.”


A tribute to Mr. Mileto hung at the field in Farmingville where he died. Mr. Mileto wore the number all 5 on his football jersey.

Heather Walsh for The brand new York Times

“The biggest concern was someone stubbing their toe,’’ he added. “This kind of just wasn’t being done in an unsafe way.”

The accident happened just after 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 10. Mr. Leone said he was startled when someone shouted repeatedly, “Coach, call 9-1-1!” Mr. Leone sprinted toward the commotion and also also also joined several adults and also also also coaches attempting to treat Mr. Mileto, whose face was covered in blood.

One coach, Chris Di’Iorio, performed CPR as Mariano Gonzalez, the team’s trainer, applied pressure to the wound. Mr. Leone and also also also another coach tried to keep Mr. Mileto breathing. nevertheless according to Mr. Leone, they could not find a pulse.

Mr. Mileto’s mother arrived on the scene soon after he was placed in an ambulance. They drove to Stony Brook University Hospital — she rode from the front seat — where Mr. Mileto was pronounced dead.

The use of the log drill has come under scrutiny particularly because deaths during practice are so rare. Several of the coaches declined to comment due to This kind of article — including head coach Mark Wojciechowski — and also also also the item was not clear if the team had performed the log drill before.


Mourners outside the funeral, which came the day after the football season was to begin.

Heather Walsh for The brand new York Times

After initial inquiries by The brand new York Times about safety protocols to Dr. Ken Graham, the superintendent of the Sachem Central School District, a communications consultant said in an email in which the district was not involved from the training camp. Though the practice took place on the school’s field and also also also included the school’s coaches, the item was overseen by the Sachem East Touchdown Club, which raises money for the football club.

The president and also also also vice president for the club did not return calls requesting comment.

Mr. Mileto’s death does not neatly fit into the existing national conversation about the safety of contact football, which centers primarily on preventing and also also also treating concussions. nevertheless the item does raise some of the same concerns those involved in youth sports often cite, including how hard coaches push youngsters during training or whether they take unnecessary risks for the sake of gaining an edge.

More than a million high school athletes play tackle football each year across the country. While injuries are common, deaths are rare, and also also also traumatic-injury deaths typically happen during games rather than training sessions, said Dr. Kristen Kucera, a sports science expert and also also also the director of the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. Kucera said she had not previously heard of high school students using a log to train.

Dr. Casa said the item was unfortunate in which there was no national governing body for high school sports, as there is usually for college sports, in which can regulate safety standards for practices. Instead, the process is usually handled by state associations with varying degrees of efficacy. He also worried in which medical experts are not always consulted when local administrators are setting safety standards.

“Medical people don’t set medical policies,’’ he said. “These are athletic administrators in which set policies. in which shocks any parent in which I tell in which.”


A memorial to Mr. Mileto outside Sachem High School East.

Heather Walsh for The brand new York Times

and also also also identifying who should contain the final say in conversations about safety regulations can also be contentious.

Chris Boone, a spokesman for the National Federation of State High School Associations, said in which individual schools, school districts and also also also state associations determine practice regulations through agreements in which differ coming from state to state. Robert Zayas, the executive director of the brand new York State Public High School Athletic Association, said in which the organization does not have any specific rules or regulations in which dictate what is usually permitted in training. He said the association does, however, have standards related to concussion management. “We have a lot of safety measures in place, nevertheless no rules and also also also regulations,” he added.

“I’m not going to comment on the conditioning drill in which a coach was conducting,’’ Mr. Zayas said. “The number of drills and also also also conditioning practices in which we see throughout brand new York and also also also throughout the country vary greatly. As teams are conditioning from the off-season, the item’s left up to the discretion of the coaches.”

The Sachem Central School District said in a statement on Wednesday in which the item “will assess the status of the team’s activities over the course of the next several days.” The district said in which in addition to a police investigation, an internal district investigation had also been opened.

Mr. Leone, who is usually a junior at the University of Pennsylvania and also also also was visiting home before the brand new school year, had worked as a coach with middle school students as part of the Sachem East Touchdown Club and also also also knew the coaches on the team. He said he was not sure if the log drill had been used in previous training sessions.


Members of Mr. Mileto’s football team at his funeral.

Heather Walsh for The brand new York Times

“I think in which image deeply affected the coaches in which were there,’’ Mr. Leone said, referring to Mr. Mileto’s injuries. “I just desire they never have to see anything like This kind of again. I keep seeing his face pop into my head.”

Stephanie Caleb, a senior at Sachem East, said in which everyone at the school was devastated by the loss. Her boyfriend, who is usually on the football team, was close with Mr. Mileto. She said in which the intense media attention on his death made the item difficult to grieve in peace.

There was deep anger at the news media, Ms. Caleb said, ‘‘and also also also the news reporters invading everybody’s privacy. the item’s not completely wrong to ask for information, nevertheless showing up and also also also filming everybody outside the funeral, in which’s not right.”

Mr. Mileto’s official obituary pulls at the heartstrings: “To Josh his community was a part of his family and also also also the feeling was mutual,” the item read. He loved his friends, sports, music and also also also “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.’’ He kissed his mother daily, the obituary noted.

“We are absolutely beyond devastated,” wrote his mother, Sayyida Mileto, in a Facebook post. “We are in no way able to respond or speak to anyone at This kind of point.”

Many of his classmates, as teenagers do, expressed their grief on Facebook and also also also Instagram. They posted photo montages with long tributes; they changed their user profiles to include crying emojis and also also also praying hands; they shared photos of him in his football jersey, No. 5, ready to play.

Correction: August 18, 2017

Because of an editing error an earlier style of This kind of article provided the incorrect day for Joshua Mileto’s wake. His wake was Monday, not Tuesday. The error was repeated in a caption in one of the photographs.

Continue reading the main story

Source : Sorrow and also also also Scrutiny After a Teenager’s Death at Football Practice