Joshua Mileto, a junior at Sachem East High School in Farmingville, New York, was tragically killed during football practice August 10.
Police say the accident happened around 8:30 a.m. when the log that he was holding above his head with several teammates shifted, causing the players to lose grip and sending the log on top of them. Mileto was severely injured by the log and died later at a nearby hospital.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Log Killed Mileto When It Fell on Top of His Head
The drill the players were performing was the improve conditioning and team building, and Mileto was killed when the log fell on top of his head.
School officials said that a half-dozen coaches were supervising the drill when the tragedy occurred, and they contacted authorities immediately afterward.
First responders arrived on scene and Mileto was rushed to Stony Brook Hospital in cardiac arrest, ABC 7 reported. Soon after arriving at the medical facility, Mileto was pronounced dead.
Mileto’s teammates accompanied him to the hospital and “left the emergency room in a daze, struggling to come to terms” with his unexpected death, ABC 7 reported.
2. The Log Drill is Common in Military Training
The log-lift activity is commonplace in the military to increase camaraderie, but it’s not uncommon for football teams to use the giant log in practices.
Sometimes, football coaches bring in military coaches to help in training the team.
The exercise involves between five-or-six people performing different activities with the log. One of the drills is for the group to lift the log over their heads in unison, which was what the group was doing when Mileto was killed.
“I can see this happening if it’s not done correctly,” Carlin Schledorn, a former player for the high school that graduated last year, told ABC 7.
Schledorn said carrying that log, which he described as being “very big” and “like a tree,” can often be difficult for the teenagers to handle.
“Very heavy, just very heavy,” he said of the weight of the log. “You need strong guys to do it in the front and the back. That’s football practice, really it’s what it’s supposed to be. I mean, if it’s not grueling then what are you practicing for?”
3. Friends Described Mileto as a Caring, Outgoing PersonWhen news of Mileto’s death surfaced, friends, family and the community members grieved together.
Classmate Olivia Cassereli described Mileto to the The Guardian as caring about just about everyone he crossed paths with.
“He put others before himself and everyone loved him and was friends with him,” Cassereli said to the news outlet.
Kennth Graham, the school district superintendent, released a statement following Mileto’s death expressing deep sympathy for the tragedy.
“The district is devastated by this horrific accident and words cannot express the grief we feel as a school community,” Graham wrote. “We extend our deepest condolences to the student’s family and friends during this terribly difficult time.”
Grief counselors for students have been made available at the school, Graham said.
4. A GoFundMe Was Launched to Support the FamilyA GoFundMe campaign was launched to support the Mileto family.Following the news of Mileto’s death, the athletic program’s booster club, the Sachem East Touchdown Club, launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the family.
“Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends, as well as coaches, team, athletic staff and our student-athletes,” booster club president Kerri Pavan wrote on the campaign’s description.
Within four hours, the campaign surpassed its $15,000 goal.
“Heartbroken for the Miletto’s,” donor Danielle Ayers wrote with a $100 donation. “Joshua was a good boy & I am here if you guys need anything. RIP to an angel. My prayers go out to you guys!!”
5. Mileto Played Defensive Back for the School
Mileto was a defensive back and wide receiver for Sachem East and wore No. 5. His Hudl profile lists him as being 5-foot-6 and weighing 134 pounds, and he was set to have his first taste of varsity experience this season.
On his Hudle profile, Mileto posted several highlight videos of his time on the football field, which included making several interceptions and big tackles on the junior varsity team a season ago.
Click here to watch some of the highlight tapes.
Teammates, opponents on the football field and friends flooded social media with tributes remembering Mileto.
Sachem East is slated to kick off the season September 2 in a game against Connetquot.