He was supposed to start his junior year next month at Sachem High School East in Farmingville, New York. Instead, his parents are planning his funeral.
Joshua Mileto, 16, died Thursday when a log held overhead in team-building drill at a summer football training program fell and hit him in the head, multiple outlets report.
The teen was one of five players holding the 10-foot log over their heads before police say it struck him in the head, New York’s Daily News reported. The accident happened around 8:30 a.m.
The 5-foot-6, 134-pound athlete was taken to Stony Brook University Hospital in cardiac arrest where he was pronounced dead, ABC 7 New York reported.
Sachem East Summer Football camp is a six-week camp for varsity and junior varsity players that takes place on school grounds. According to its website, the program — which was scheduled through Friday — focuses on improving speed, agility and conditioning skills.
The training session was supervised by six coaches and trainers at the time, Newsday reported. Police do not know why the log was dropped, or whether the weight of the log or wet grass might have been a factor. They have classified it as an accident, the Daily News reported.
The log-carrying drill Mileto and his teammates were participating in was designed to build teamwork in Navy SEALS training, president of the New York State Athletic Trainers Association Bob O’Malley confirmed to Newsday.
Suffolk County Police Assistant Commissioner Justin Meyers said another player from the same team was also taken to the hospital the day prior after suffering non life-threatening injuries, Newsday reported, . It is not known whether that player — whose name was not released — was also participating in the log-carrying drill.
Hours after Mileto’s death, the school district released a statement on their website saying they were making grief counselors available to all students and faculty throughout the weekend.
“The district is devastated by this horrific accident and words cannot express the grief we feel as a school community,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kenneth Graham said. “We extend our deepest condolences to the student’s family and friends during this terribly difficult time.”
All school and community-based activities have also been cancelled districtwide throughout the weekend. The football team’s practice will begin Monday as scheduled.
A vigil was held for Mileto at the Farmingville Fire Department Thursday night, News 12 reported.
The Sachem East Touchdown Club has also set up a fundraiser for the teen’s family, with more than $27,000 raised so far.
On Facebook, Mileto’s mother spoke out about her son’s death, NBC New York reported, saying that funeral arrangements will be announced as soon as the family is able.
“We are absolutely beyond devastated,” she wrote. “We are in no way able to respond or speak to anyone at this point. Please respect our privacy at this difficult time. … Thank you everyone for all the calls and texts out pouring of love and support from our family, friends and Sachem Community.”