Early in his team’s loss to New Rochelle last week, Mike Scarpelli suffered a health scare on the sideline. It became so bad at one point that the Clarkstown South football coach’s vision and hearing were severely impaired.
“I just couldn’t see anything at one point,” Scarpelli said. “I was on the ground and just trying to focus on the logo on my shoes without coming up and looking foolish.”
In hindsight, Scarpelli believed he looked foolish regardless. He expressed regret on Wednesday for his behavior toward the police officers and medical personnel he chased away after they rushed to his aid.
“They came based on someone else’s judgment. They were doing their job, but also being a friend and trying to help out,” said Scarpelli, who was friendly with two of the officers involved. “Sometimes as coaches we get caught up, whether you’re 4-0 or 0-4. The priority is your health and the health of everyone involved. I just got caught up and didn’t handle the situation well.”
Scarpelli signed a waiver during the game that stated he had refused medical assistance. He continued coaching through the end of the Vikings’ 39-18 loss to New Rochelle. It was their first loss of the season after a 4-0 start.
After the game, Scarpelli said he told his players, “I’m upset and I’m disappointed, but not at you guys. I’m disappointed at myself for my behavior. I’m like you guys, I’m a fighter and I’m going to stay with you until the very end, but I should’ve handled it better.”
Scarpelli said his most severe symptoms have dissipated, but he still hasn’t felt well since Friday. He had felt fine prior to the game, although he said the previous two weeks had been stressful personally and professionally.
Despite his condition, Scarpelli attended the team’s practices on Monday and Tuesday this week and also visited with multiple doctors. He has more appointments scheduled this week, but he is yet to receive a concrete diagnosis of what caused the health scare.
Clarkstown South is scheduled to host Scarsdale at 7 on Friday night in its final regular-season game.
“I’m going to try my best to be there Friday,” Scarpelli said. “Right now, I plan on being at the game.”