The boy's teammates left the emergency room in a daze, struggling to come to terms with the death of 16-year-old Joshua Mileto.
Police say the accident happened on the football field at the high school in Farmingville where players were carrying an enormous log above their heads as part of a conditioning drill.
Investigators say the boy suffered a catastrophic injury after the log shifted and struck him in the head. The accident happened around 8:30 a.m.
Mileto was rushed from the field in cardiac arrest. He was later pronounced dead at Stony Brook hospital.
"I can see this happening if it's not done correctly," said Carlin Schledorn, former player.
Schledorn played on the Sachem East Varsity team when he was a junior, he graduated last year.
He says carrying that log is a team building exercise, common in military training, but difficult for teenagers to master.
"Very heavy, just very heavy. You need strong guys to do it in the front and the back," Schledorn said. "That's football practice, really it's what it's supposed to be. I mean, if it's not grueling then what are you practicing for?"
School officials said about a half dozen coaches were supervising at the time of the accident.
Kennth Graham, the school district superintendent, expressed condolences in a written statement:
"The district is devastated by this horrific accident and words cannot express the grief we feel as a school community. We extend our deepest condolences to the student's family and friends during this terribly difficult time."
Grief counselors were at the school throughout the day trying to help students and faculty members.