Eighteen high school football players were overcome by hypothermia Saturday at a game at played in a driving rain storm and near- freezing temperatures. All were reported OK early Sunday morning.
Twelve of the players were transported to area hospitals by emergency crews, Plainview firefighters said. Six more players were treated at the scene. The players were from Plainview and Valley Stream Central high school teams.
Plainview school board President Gary Bettan reported that all the students are recovering. Parents and players reported that all or most have left the hospital.
Plainview's homecoming game against Valley Stream Central was halted at halftime when players from both teams showed signs of the condition that left them shivering and disoriented, firefighters said.
At least one teacher and another adult were treated for possible heart attacks and transported to the by ambulance. Their conditions could not be learned.
The players began showing signs of hypothermia in the locker room at halftime of Plainview's game Saturday at the high school, firefighters said. Arriving Plainview units under the command of Chief of Department discovered multiple players in distress in the gymnasium area, eyewitnesses reported.
Robinson declared a "mass casualty incident" at the high school, a designation that brought mutual-aid forces from Melville, Syosset, Bethpage, and Jericho and alerted area hospitals to the emergency. Ambulance crews from the various departments shuttled the victims to area hospitals. All 12 hospitalized players were treated at Nassau University Medical Center.
The second half of the game against Valley Stream Central was called off. Students and parents described conditions at game time as deplorable, citing freezing rain and high winds on the playing field. One fan said the playing surface resembed a rugby field with pools of muddied water. Another fan said the stands were encrusted with ice at game time.
The homecoming activities prior to the game were moved inside the high school.
Plainview school officials could not be reached for comment. School offices were closed Saturday.
Similar incidents of hypothermia, a condition that lowers the body's temperature to dangerous levels, were reported Saturday among football players in other parts of Long Island.
Among those: Eleven students were taken to various Long Island hospitals for hypothermia during a football game at Saturday, Merrick fire officials said.
If you were an eyewitness to the Plainview incident, or a school administrator, teacher or coach, please contact Joe Dowd Sunday or Monday at (516) 359-9624 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will report all sides of this story in the coming days.