(CNN) — A varsity football player from suburban New York high school died after colliding with an opponent during a game, a school official said.
Tom Cutinella, a 16-year-old student at Shoreham-Wading River High School, suffered a serious head injury during Wednesday night’s game against Elwood-John H. Glenn High School, according to Suffolk County Police spokeswoman Joan Jesinger.
Cutinella was transported to Long Island’s Huntington Hospital, where he died later, Jesinger said.
He was the third high school football player to die in the last week, according to published reports.
Jesinger said police were investigating Cutinella’s death.
“It was the result of a typical football play,” Superintendent Steven Cohen told reporters Thursday. “It was just a freak accident.”
Cutinella stood up after the collision and then collapsed, Cohen said. The player had been blocking for a teammate, Newsday reported.
“Right now, our focus is really on the suffering that Tom’s family and this community is going through,” Cohen said, adding that the issue of a possible concussion was a matter for later discussion.
Cohen said Cutinella was “beloved by everyone who knew him” and his death “touched everyone in this community very deeply.”
Cutinella excelled academically, had a great sense of humor and was a member of a peer-to-peer assistance program, Cohen said
Shoreham-Wading River High School Principal Dan Holtzman said that a crisis team was assembled.
“We’ve worked very hard to make the high school a very comfortable and family-like environment and the support that students are showing for each other today really demonstrates that,” Holtzman said.
In Alabama, Demario Harris Jr., 17, of Charles Henderson High School in Alabama died Sunday — two days after making a tackle in a football game, according to AL.com. The official cause of death was not immediately known.
His father, Harris Sr., wrote on Facebook: “My family and me are dealing with a rough situation and we really appreciate everyone well wishes and prayers. And contrary to various media reports my son had a brain hemorrhage, not an aneurysm, that was caused by a hit he took during Fridays game. He may have had a pre-existing condition but there is no way to tell now.”
On September 26, Isaiah Langston, a 17-year-old student at Rolesville High School in North Carolina, collapsed on the field before a game, according to CNN affiliate WTVD. On Monday, his family confirmed he had died. The official cause of death is not known but his older brother told WTVD that his collapse on the field “had something to do with a blood clot in his brain.”
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