A Long Island school district is considering canceling its entire scheduled varsity football season following the tragic death of a young player in an accident involving a log at a recent practice.
According to Newsday, the daily newspaper based on Long Island, the Sachem East school district has had discussions about canceling the school’s football season following the death of Joshua Mileto, who was killed in a “horrific” accident at the team’s practice on August 10. It later emerged that a log had fallen on his head as the team participated in a log drill, with the log reportedly weighing 400 pounds.
Sachem Schools Superintendent Kenneth Graham told Newsday that determinations about the team’s season are being complicated by multiple factors tied to Mileto’s death; both an active police investigation and a district investigation into the accident are ongoing.
“Our thoughts and condolences continue to be with Josh’s family and friends during this terribly difficult time,” Graham told Newsday.
Meanwhile, the Sachem East team will reconvene for the first time since the accident on Thursday, though it remains unknown if the team will participate in active drills or discuss football at all. Those decisions will have a direct impact on when the team might be able to start the football season, if it decides to move forward at all; New York State Public High School Athletic Association guidelines require any high school football team to participate in at least 15 days of practice before competing in a game.
Sachem East’s first game is currently scheduled for September 1, which means the team would have to begin practicing soon to reach the mandatory minimum days while also complying with necessary days off for rest.
As one might expect, the concerns of the team and school are more focused on Mileto’s family and friends than competing on the field, with Sachem East coach Mark Wojciechowski remaining silent since the accident. Still, a decision will have to be made imminently for the team and it’s first scheduled opponent — Longwood — to prepare for their respective seasons.
A GoFundMe account aimed a creating a memorial fund in the teen’s name has already raised nearly $90,000, far surpassing its initial $15,000 goal.