3 high school football players die in 1 week after collapsing on field

Tom Cutinella
Tom Cutinella, a high school football player, died Wednesday in New York. Shoreham-Wading River Superintendent of Schools Steven Cohen, left, and high school Principal Dan Holtzman speak at a news conference Thursday.
(Frank Eltman / Associated Press)

A Long Island, N.Y., teen died Wednesday after colliding with an opponent during a high school football game. He was the third high school player in a week to die after being on the field.

Tom Cutinella, a high school junior and linebacker on the Shoreham-Wading River High School football team, collided with a player on the field around 6 p.m. during a game against John Glenn High School in Elwood, N.Y., and collapsed on the field, according to police and school district officials.




12:48 p.m.: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the University of Michigan had played Rutgers during Saturday’s game. Michigan played Minnesota.


Cutinella was rushed to the hospital, where he underwent surgery, said district spokeswoman Deirdre Gilligan. He was later pronounced dead.

Demario Harris Jr., a senior and cornerback for Charles Henderson High School in Troy, Ala., died Sunday after being injured in a game Friday, the Associated Press reported. According to the Associated Press, Harris collapsed on the field after a tackle.


Another high school football player, Isaiah Langston of Rolesville High School in North Carolina, collapsed during pre-game exercises before a game Friday night and later died at a hospital.

The incidents come as the University of Michigan Athletic Department is facing sharp criticism and protests from students following the decision to allow quarterback Shane Morris to continue playing on Saturday against the University of Minnesota, even though he appeared disoriented and was stumbling on the field following a hard hit.

He briefly walked off the field at one point but was put back in the game without being cleared by the team’s doctors, Athletic Director Dave Brandon said Monday.

University officials revealed Monday that Morris had suffered a “probable, mild concussion” and an ankle sprain. Initially head coach Brady Hoke had said, “We would never, ever put a guy on the field when there’s a possibility with head trauma.”

Students and fans have protested, camping out on the lawn of the University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel’s home, and demanding the ouster of Hoke and Brandon.

In a statement released Monday, Brandon said “there was a serious lack of communication that led to confusion on the sideline” Saturday.

Brandon said medical staff had not seen the hit and did not have access to replays to evaluate it. He said there was also miscommunication on the field that led to Morris being put back in the game before doctors could check him out.

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