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Newsday (New York)


The Sachem school district "will assess the status of the team's activities" in the aftermath of Joshua Mileto's death during a team training drill last week, Superintendent Kenneth Graham said Wednesday.

When and if the football team will play this season is complicated by what Graham referred to as "an active police investigation" and "an internal district investigation related to the facts surrounding this tragic incident."

Graham said that Sachem East football players, coaches and parents met with school administrators Wednesday morning, a day after the funeral for their teammate. No decision about the future of the team was made.

"At any given point, any findings could potentially affect the team," he said in the statement.

Suffolk police said Wednesday the investigation was ongoing.

Graham called the meeting "an integral part of the healing process for everyone involved."

High school football teams across New York State officially began practicing on Monday. Both Sachem East and Sachem North canceled practice on Monday and Tuesday. Sachem North had its first practice Wednesday.

Mileto died on Thursday morning after a log he and four other players were carrying struck him on the head. The players were participating in a six-week summer camp that took place on school grounds and was run by Sachem East coaches and sponsored by the Sachem East Touchdown Club.

Sachem East head coach Mark Wojciechowski has not spoken publicly since Mileto's death.

Graham added that the team will reconvene Thursday and "the district will assess the status of the team's activities over the course of the next several days." He did not indicate whether the team will take part in any football activities when they meet again.

"Our thoughts and condolences continue to be with Josh's family and friends during this terribly difficult time," Graham said.

New York State Public High School Athletic Association rules mandate that football teams take part in 15 days of practices before their first game. Sachem East's first scheduled game is Sept. 1 at Longwood.

Tom Combs, the executive director of Section XI, the governing body of Suffolk County athletics, said that rule cannot be waived because it's safety related.

"We've been working with Sachem, talking with them the last couple of days, and they're still not sure what's going to happen," Combs said.

With Michael O'Keeffe

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August 17, 2017


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