Family of Teen Killed by 400-Pound Log at Football Practice to Sue School District, Club

Joshua Mileto, 16, died after a 400-pound log fell on his head during an offseason training exercise in August

What to Know

  • Joshua Mileto died on Aug. 10 after a 400-pound log he and four other players were carrying struck him on the head, police said
  • Mileto's family plans to sue Sachem Central School District and the Sachem East Touchdown Club for $15 million in damages
  • The district has announced coaching changes pending the outcome of an investigation

The family of a 16-year-old New York boy who died when a log fell on his head during a preseason high school football drill on Long Island has filed notice they intend to sue for $15 million in damages.

Joshua Mileto was carrying a 400-pound log with four other players on the East Sachem High School football team when it somehow fell and killed him, police said. Detectives preliminarily deemed the death to be accidental.

The Aug. 10 tragedy led to the removal of the high school's head football coach and an assistant, pending an internal investigation by the school district. The team from eastern Long Island is scheduled to play its first game of the season on Saturday.

"There was no thought or consideration as to what could, and unfortunately did, happen if the boys lost control of the log or it was dropped for any reason," Jay Dankner, the attorney representing Mileto's family, said Thursday.

"The recreational and sports training experts we have contacted have unanimously said that it was negligence on the part of the school and football team to have allowed these boys to run this drill and even more reckless to not have supervised or controlled it in any way."

Dankner said that while some members of the coaching staff may have been nearby, he contended the players did not receive specific training or supervision on how to perform the drill. Mileto, a wide receiver, was 5-foot-6, 134 pounds.

Following the accident, an expert at the University of Connecticut questioned the wisdom of having teenagers perform an exercise that involves carrying a heavy object and that he said was developed for Navy SEALs.

"There's so much potential for things to go wrong that I would really want people to think twice before doing something like that," said Douglas Casa, executive director of the Korey Stringer Institute, which works to improve safety for athletes.

Notice of the pending lawsuit was filed Wednesday, and is the first step before a formal lawsuit is filed against the Sachem Central School District and Sachem East Touchdown Club Inc. A spokeswoman said the district does not comment on pending litigation.

Club officials, who operated the preseason camp, did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment.

The head coach of the high school football team, along with an assistant, have been reassigned pending the outcome of an investigation into the death of Mileto.

Dankner said the family will be seeking $7.5 million for the boy's pain and suffering and $7.5 million for his death.

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