Tom Cutinella, a 16-year-old junior at Shoreham-Wading River High School on Long Island, died on Wednesday after a collision on the field. “It was a big hit,” the team’s coach, Matt Millheiser, told Newsday after Cutinella was taken to the hospital, where he passed away after undergoing surgery.
“Our school community is truly devastated by this awful news and we extend our deepest condolences to Tom’s family and friends during this difficult time,” said Steve Cohen, the local school superintendent, in a statement.
“He excelled academically, had a great sense of humor and was just a great individual overall,” Cohen said. “He was well-liked among students and staff, and he will truly be missed.”
With football safety an increasingly contentious issue, Cutinella is the third teenage player to die since Sunday, ESPN reports. In Alabama, Demario Harris Jr. collapsed after a tackle on Friday, and passed away from a potential brain hemorrhage two days later. In North Carolina, Isaiah Langston collapsed during warm-ups on Friday, and died Monday, possibly from a blood clot in his brain, his family said.