On Tuesday, about 1,000 people showed up at Lake Ronkonkoma church on Long Island for the funeral of Joshua A. Mileto, a 16-year-old football player who was killed last week when a log fell on top of him during a training drill with his teammates.
The incident happened at a summer football camp at Sachem High School East, not at the football team’s formal practice, but if it seems excessive to ask high schoolers to carry 10-foot logs that weigh around 200 pounds each, that’s because it is.
The log-carrying drill was designed to build teamwork in Navy SEALS training, Bob O’Malley, president of the New York State Athletic Trainers Association, told the New York Times. O’Malley said he’s never seen the drill in any athletic setting, let alone a camp for high schoolers.
In this video on You Tube, Mike Caviston, director of fitness at the Navy Special Warfare Center, calls the drill “one of the toughest physical evolutions that anyone has to go through.” At Navy training, logs are carried by “boat crews of six or seven men” for “close to two hours, almost nonstop,” Caviston says.
Here’s a different video showing what log-carrying training looks like.
Newsday reported Mileto was “somewhere in the middle” of a group of five kids who were carrying the log when it fell on top of him. Greg Fernandez said his 17-year-old stepson is friends with Josh and “saw pretty much everything” the day he died. According to Fernandez, three boys were on one side of the log, and Joshua was one of two on the other side.
Seems weird to have an imbalance like that, and we can’t help but wonder if that had something to do with the tragedy.
Imbalance or not, the bottom line is there’s no way these kids should have been asked to do this drill.
Tyler Simpson, now 23, is a former high school football player on Long Island who went on to the Marine Corps. He did the log-carrying training in the military, not with his teammates in high school.
“It was exhausting,” Simpson told The Times. “Some of these kids aren’t going to be able to hold the end of a 400-pound log.”
There’s a GoFundMe page to help out Mileto’s family.