Football camp death raises questions about training, oversight

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The death of 16-year-old Joshua Mileto is raising questions about training programs for high school athletes, including what guidelines there are and whether there's enough oversight at sports camps.

Mileto, a Sachem East High School football player, died yesterday during a strength and conditioning drill at an offseason football camp. He and other teammates were carrying a log overhead when it fell and hit the teen in the head, causing his death.

The log training is a common drill used in the military. News 12 spoke to Tony Hernandez, who does log training at Military Style Training Academy of New York in Mineola. Hernandez is retired from the Marine Corp after 20 years. He says log training is effective - if it’s done correctly.  

“Everywhere around the country they use logs, this is nothing new,” says Hernandez. “So yes, it’s appropriate for high schoolers to use it, but supervision is key.”

Police say the log the players were carrying was 10 feet long and weighed more than 400 pounds. Five kids were holding it.

“I wouldn't put five people to hold a 10-foot log,” Hernandez says. “I don't think that’s the appropriate number of people that should be on a log. I would say, at minimum, maybe eight people on a log. At minimum. So you can disperse the weight out accordingly.”

Police say Mileto was in the middle when the log fell.

“You got your anchors on front and end, but the center people are holding all that weight – that’s where all the weight is in the middle,” he says. “So it’s not distributed evenly.”

The State Public High School Athletic Association told News 12 that there are no rules or regulations pertaining to conditioning drills and that it’s up to the discretion of the schools and coaches. News 12 asked if that will change.

“What happens next we need to be very careful and we need to be very diligent in how we respond - and what rules or regulations, if any, would be created,” said Robert Zayas, the association’s executive director.

A memorial fund for Mileto has been set up on GoFundMe. To donate, click here.

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