NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – It was a homecoming game that several local high school players will likely never forget.
More than a dozen football players from JFK High School in Plainview spent the last game of the season, and for seniors the last game of their H.S. careers, in ambulances and hospitals after suffering hypothermia symptoms on Saturday.
The freak October storm turned football fields across Long Island into frosty muddy messes, and when players from JFK and rival Valley Stream entered the locker room at halftime, more than a dozen student-athletes nearly collapsed, CBS 2′s Jennifer McLogan reported.
Coaches didn’t take any chances and called for the doctor and EMTs.
“I was one of the players taken to the hospital for precaution,” JFK player Rob Hymowitz told McLogan. “I was fine during the game — running around making plays. And once we came in, I was just non-stop shivering.”
Another JFK player, Shane Lenahan who was in an ambulance, told McLogan that he “ just broke down.” “I don’t usually get cold, but just … the coaches really helped, they gave us their jackets.”
Fifteen players were treated for hypothermia, while school administrators huddled. “Whether to suspend the game, delay the game … once the game starts, it is in the hands of the sports officials,” Todd Heimer of the NY State Public High School Athletic Association told McLogan.
The second half was canceled. The game did not affect the playoffs.
State guidelines mandate dressing in layers when the wind chill is 20 -36 degrees. When the wind chill reaches 10 to 19 degrees, players must cover heads and necks. When the wind chill drops -11 or colder there is an alert — no outside activity and practices and games must be canceled.
Saturday’s wind chill was 20 with horrendous conditions.
School districts say they will now review their decision-making and reconsider policies, for safety’s sake, regarding canceling games before they even start.
Four other high school football games were canceled in Nassau County Saturday and will be replayed. The players who suffered hypothermia symptoms have recovered and were back in school Monday.
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