Teammates of a New York football player who died during a training exercise last summer are seeking to file a lawsuit against their school district.
Claiming emotional harm, three families are asking a judge for permission to file a late notice of claim to sue New York’s Sachem School District.
In August of 2017, 16-year-old Joshua Mileto died when a 400-pound log hit him in the head. Football players were carrying the log over their heads as part of a team drill at Sachem East High School in Farmingville.
Team captain Matthew Kmiotek told WCBS-TV and other outlets he still has difficulty talking about that day.
“It’s very hard to cope with,” he said at a news conference Wednesday. “It’s something that’s burned into my head. I think about it a lot.”
“Under the law when it deals with emotional distress, there’s a duty to protect all those in what’s called the ‘zone of danger,’” attorney Ken Mollins said. “All of the team members who were carrying the log that day were in the ‘zone of danger,’ they feared for their own safety.”
According to WCBS, parents say their sons have been unable to sleep and that the two 40-minute therapy sessions were hardly enough for a group was so collectively traumatized.
“Every one of those children need help,” said Michael Paolucci, a father of one of the players. “Every one of them.”
Two coaches were reassigned following the tragedy, per WCBS. A police investigation found no criminal fault, but WCBS reports that families are seeking $15 million in damages for their sons.
“I believe what the school district should have done was bring this Long Island trauma network into the school,” Paolucci said, per WCBS. “You and all of us here, I think know, these boys are more apt to talk amongst a group of themselves than they are sitting in a room feeling like they’re being examined by someone that they don’t know.”
WCBS reported that while a notice of claim normally needs to be filed within 90 days of an accident, the families are asking a court to allow them to file a delayed notice of claim because they said they were expecting help that never came.
Members of the school district declined comment to WCBS and other outlets.