It's been almost like clockwork for several summers, unfortunately. The football practice season begins and tragedy follows shortly after.
The first we've noted is out of Staten Island, where Nicholas Dellaventura, described as a jovial, angel-like 15-year-old, collapsed following a voluntary, no-pads, 90-minute workout with teammates on Monday and died hours later.
and the New York Post
, Nicholas struggled to breathe as St. Joseph-by-the-Sea (Staten Island, N.Y.)
High School coach Rich Clark addressed the team.
Paramedics were called, and the 5-foot-8, 210-pound lineman was rushed to Staten Island University Hospital where he died several hours later.
"He was an angel, a really nice, jovial kid," Clark told the newspaper. "There are not enough nice things you can say about the kid. I feel like I lost a member of my family. …It's just a tragedy."
Said Nicholas' cousin Rob Dellaventura: "He was a 15-year-old kid – happiest kid in the world."
The cause of death likely won't be known for a couple of weeks. An autopsy was completed Tuesday.
Last summer, we reported at least six
on-the-practice-field deaths, mostly related to heat, largely in the South. According to reports, Monday's workout in Staten Island was cut short because of warm conditions.
In March, the Georgia High School Association
led a national charge to beat the heat with a series of rule changes that included:
- Practices in pads are limited to three hours and three-a-day practices are banned.
- Two-a-day practices cannot exceed five hours or take place on consecutive days.
- Players must participate in five days of practices wearing only shorts, t-shirts and helmets before going to pads in the month of August.
- Practices without pads are limited to two hours and take place no sooner than July 25.
Our deepest condolences go out to the Dellaventura family and St. Joseph community. Judging by the comments from family and friends – and his team picture - Nicholas was a jewel.
"He was the best kid all around," teammate Mike Motto told CBSNewYork
. "Football-wise, he was the best on
the field. He was the nicest kid in general."
Said another teammate Frank Vigilante: “He was the dream kid, pretty much."