RIVERHEAD - A Riverhead High School varsity football player is in the hospital after collapsing on the field during practice.
Nick Visco, 16, is now on a ventilator at Stony Brook University Hospital. Doctors say he had organ failure after suffering a heat stroke while training outdoors on one of the hottest days of the past week.
The temperature during Visco's Monday morning practice was in the 80s, with high humidity. Doctors say he came into the hospital disoriented, experienced some vomiting and had a body temperature that reached 108 degrees.
Visco's stepfather, Brian Tirado, says the 11th-grader is loved by his coaches and teammates, and is positive and energetic on the football field.
Stony Brook doctors recently received a grant to educate schools, coaches and student athletes about sports safety, such as recognizing the signs of heat stroke.
Signs of heat stroke include exhaustion, dizziness, headaches or lightheadedness, says Dr. Brian Cruickshank.
The superintendent of Riverhead schools says the coaches were following all state guidelines for high school sports when Visco collapsed. She says the students were practicing under the modified heat alert rules, which include making sure the athletes stop and drink water every 15 minutes.
Doctors say Visco has shown signs of improvement since being admitted to the hospital.