MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dankner said the family will be seeking $7.5 million for the boy's pain and suffering and $7.5 million for his death.