Tom Cutinella, a Shoreham-Wading River High School football player, died Wednesday evening after colliding with an athlete on an opposing team, officials said.
The tragic death occurred at 6 p.m. during a varsity game against John H. Glenn High School in Elwood, Suffolk County police said. Following the collision, the teen was transported to Huntington Hospital, where he died, according to a police spokeswoman.
“Our school community is truly devastated by this awful news and we all extend our deepest condolences to Tom’s family and friends during this difficult time,” Shoreham-Wading River Central School District Superintendent Dr. Steven Cohen said in a statement posted on the district’s website.
Cutinella was well-liked among students and staff, Cohen said, adding that the teen also played lacrosse and was a member of the Natural Helpers program, a peer support group.
Cutinella, who was a member of the football team since the ninth grade, also displayed excellence in the classroom, he said.
“[He] had a great sense of humor and was just a great individual overall,” Cohen said.
“Each student is a valued member of our educational community and a young person’s death is always tragic,” he continued. “A sudden loss like this can have a profound effect on the entire school community.”
Cohen said grief counselors will be made available to students and staff “for as long as needed as we mourn and cope with the loss of such an amazing life.”
Reporters who were at Huntington Hospital described an emotional scene with teammates and friends eagerly waiting for an update on Cutinella’s condition.
Authorities did not reveal information about Cutinella’s injury.