A New York high school student reportedly died Thursday after a log fell on his head during a drill at an off-season football practice, police confirmed.
Joshua Mileto, 16, was participating in a strength and conditioning camp at Sachem High School East on Long Island where the group of athletes were performing a Navy SEALs-style drill, requiring players to carry a log over their heads, Fox 5 NY reported. The piece of wood then “fell and struck” Mileto’s head just after 8:30 a.m. Mileto was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Mileto was heading into 11th grade and was expected to graduate in 2019. He played cornerback and wide receiver for the Junior Varsity team last year, according to Fox 5. His teammates reported that he was a very talented athlete
Sachem East graduate Carlin Schledorn, who played football as a junior, said carrying the log — about 12 feet long and the diameter of a utility pole — was a “team building” exercise. “It’s very big. It’s like a tree, and it’s a challenge for people who weightlift,” he said. “Five or six people do it at once. I feel horrific for the team and coaches because I know them, and they are all great men.”
Kenneth Graham, superintendent of Sachem Central School District, said in a released statement the community was “saddened to learn” about the student’s death. “The district is devastated by this horrific accident and words cannot express the grief we feel as a school community. We extend our deepest condolences to the student’s family and friends during this terribly difficult time,” Graham said.
Some colleges and other high schools around the country have incorporated log-carrying drills and other military-inspired exercises into their football preparations in recent years. Some schools even bring in SEALs to teach and motivate the players.
But after Mileto’s death on Thursday, sports safety expert Douglas Casa questioned the wisdom of having teenagers perform an exercise that involves carrying a heavy object and that was developed for Navy SEALs, “potentially a very different clientele.”
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