Athletic Director Speaks About High School Football Player Collapse


The Middletown High football team was scheduled to participate in a Passing League on Wednesday night, the day after one of the players collapsed while running sprint, but the game was called off.

The student, whose name has not been released, was in the middle of sprinting laps up a hill at Middletown High School when he collapsed at around 7:30 p.m., about 90 minutes into a practice that included weight training and running.  According to police, no water was provided during practice.

The student was taken to the hospital to be treated for dehydration and two assistant football coaches, Kelly Ellis and Joshua Hamilton, each received a misdemeanor summons for second-degree reckless endangerment.

Mike Pitruzzello, Middletown Athletic Director. disputes police accounts of the training session.

"He felt nauseous and he said, ‘If you want to throw up, go right ahead.’ He said, ‘Do you mind if I sit down? And the coach says no, if you want to sit down, go right ahead and sit down and he did and that's when he threw up again," Pitruzzello said.

Pitruzzello said each player had his own water bottle.

When asked if it was a bad call to run the players outside at all during a heat wave, Pitruzzello said he needs to speak with the coaches.

"It wasn't the coolest night, let's put it that way, from what I gather talking to everybody. Was it the smartest decision? I need to sit down with my coaches and discuss that with them," he said.

When another regular practice happens on Thursday, will likely be entirely indoors. 

"We'll adjust our practice tomorrow," Pitruzzello said.

Dr. Steven Wolf, of St. Francis Hospital, encourages parents and coaches to take it easy on youths when it comes to exercise in this extreme summer heat and use common sense.

"I'm not so sure there's a huge need to do significant strenuous exercise and organized sports during really the height of the heat wave," Wolf said.

The student was treated at Middlesex Hospital for dehydration and was released on Tuesday night. He is doing OK.

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