By Danny Schrafel
A first-year varsity athlete for the Shoreham-Wading River football team died Wednesday night at Huntington Hospital after colliding with an opposing player on the field at John Glenn High School during a game against the Knights.
Superintendent of Shoreham-Wading River Schools Steven R. Cohen confirmed the sudden death of Tom Cutinella, a junior guard/linebacker, in a message posted on the school district’s website late Wednesday.
“Tom passed away after colliding with an opponent in Wednesday night’s game against Elwood John H. Glenn High School,” he said in the statement. “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.”
Police said Cutinella, a junior, collapsed after suffering what has been described in published reports as a head injury during the third quarter of the Glenn-Shoreham game at approximately 6 p.m. He was rushed to Huntington Hospital, where he later died, police said.
Elwood School District Superintendent Peter Scordo said in a statement that the district was “extremely shocked and saddened about this horrific news.”
“We offer our most sincere condolences to Tom’s family and friends during this difficult time,” Scordo said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Shoreham-Wading River School District community.”
Flags flew at half-staff at John Glenn High School when classes resumed Thursday. After-school activities at the high school and Elwood Middle School were canceled Thursday to pay respects to the Shoreham-Wading River community, an Elwood district spokesperson said. Grief counselors were on hand throughout the day, Scordo added.
Cutinella was in his first year of varsity football for Shoreham-Wading River, having played the sport for the district since ninth grade, district officials said. He was also a lacrosse player and member of the Natural Helpers program, which focuses on peers helping peers.
“He excelled academically, had a great sense of humor and was just a great individual overall. He was well-liked among students and staff and he will truly be missed,” Cohen said.