A stormy debate has erupted in Plainview over Saturday's incident involving 18 high school football players who were after the first half of Saturday's game.
By early Monday, more than 80 comments had appeared accompanying Patch's story about the football players who are all now reported to be recovered from the incident. It is likely the dialogue will continue for some time. The Board of Education meets Monday night and the topic is expected to come up.
In its Sunday editions, Newsday quoted schools Superintendent as saying "We certainly are going to review our decision-making."
The homecoming game at against Valley Stream Central was played in a driving rain storm and near-freezing temperatures. Firefighters were called to the scene at halftime when numerous players began to show the dizzying effects of the dangerous condition: slurred speech, disorientation, uncontrolled shaking and lethargy.
Twelve were treated at Nassau University Medical Center. Another six were treated at the scene. Two adults also showed heart-attack symptoms, also a warning sign of hypothermia, experts said. They were transported to Plainview Hospital.
In Patch's comment thread, the debate raged all weekend.
Some community members and students said the game should never have been played.
Those conditions put..."players' lives at risk, all for a game that should have been postponed," said , a nurse writing from Southern California who is also a 1971 graduate of Plainview-Old Bethpage High School. "...These are kids whose young bodies are not prepared to be outside in wet clothing for even an hour. Thank goodness they will apparently not have any permanent injuries from this."
"Our children's lives are more important than a football game," added , a reader from Port Washington.
Others passionately defended the coaches, saying the staff did all they could to protect the athletes and couldn't anticipate the severity of the conditions.
"The coaches didn't know how bad the weather was going to get and when they did they ended the game, said player , summarizing the sentiments of numerous players. "...They did absolutely nothing wrong. In fact, we should thank them for their response in helping the players and getting them proper medical attention."
Many players, especially seniors, grieved the loss of the last 30 minutes of their final football game of the season, which was halted at halftime. Clearly, Plainview had a chance to win the game: Valley Stream was leading 6-0 when play was halted.
For most seniors, it will be their last game:
"What we care about is that our (football) family will never have the chance to be united again as a football team," wrote , who said his season ended earlier due to an injury. "To come to the realization that you will never put on your pads or your helmet again is the worst experience I have ever went through so far in my life."
Other readers looked to the future: Parent comment was the most poignant:
"...Picked my son up from the hospital yesterday evening," Eberenz said. "He is doing fine. Let's get over the finger pointing...where do we go from here? (Is) anyone asking how (to) ensure this does not happen again?"
Eberenz said old-style sideline coverups might have helped and could be used for multiple sports.
Plainview athletes weren't alone in suffering the effects of hypothermia. Several other Long Island high school games saw similar incidents of hypothermia.