Good Morning
Good Morning
SportsHigh SchoolFootball

Riverhead varsity football player Nikolas Visco critical after heatstroke during practice, doctor says

Nikolas Visco, a Riverhead High School varsity football

Nikolas Visco, a Riverhead High School varsity football player, is shown in this undated photo provided by his family. Credit: Visco Family

Nikolas Visco, a junior on the Riverhead High School varsity football team, was in critical condition Thursday at Stony Brook Children's Hospital after suffering from heatstroke during practice Monday, Dr. Daniel Sloniewsky said.

Visco, 16, also suffered from kidney and liver failure, Sloniewsky said.

"Currently, the main problem is his kidneys," Sloniewsky said Thursday. "He's on dialysis right now and it's not known yet if that is a permanent thing or just a temporary thing."

When asked for a prognosis, Sloniewsky said, "It's a little early to say. . . . He's not getting worse and he might be getting marginally better."

Visco's stepfather, Brian Tirado, told News 12 Long Island: "You see it happen on TV, but it's obviously very, very different when it happens to you. It's hitting very close to home. Mom is understandably upset. I have my moments -- good minutes and bad minutes. I wouldn't say good days yet."

Shortly after practice ended Monday morning, Visco told one of the team's coaches he wasn't feeling well, Riverhead football coach Leif Shay said. The team's trainer called an ambulance, which took Visco to Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead.

Riverhead Superintendent of Schools Nancy Carney said that even though Section XI, the governing body for Suffolk County high school sports, did not declare a heat alert, "Our coaches were practicing under a self-imposed modified heat alert. They were working out in T-shirts and shorts and followed all state guidelines."

Section XI uses the heat index to determine whether to declare an alert. According to the National Weather Service readings for Westhampton Beach, the nearest measuring station, the temperature was 86 on Monday morning and the heat index was 92. A heat alert is mandatory when the index reaches 95.

Shay said the Riverhead ambulance responded within "two, three minutes."

Visco's temperature was 108 degrees when he arrived at Peconic Bay, and the hospital brought his temperature down to 103 before he was transferred to Stony Brook Children's Hospital, Sloniewsky said.

"They used ice, IV fluids and they put him in cooling blankets," Sloniewsky said. "When he arrived with us, his temperature had dropped significantly and within an hour or two, it was down below 100."

However, "he started to suffer failure of many of his organs -- his kidneys, his liver and he's on medicine to keep his blood pressure up," Sloniewsky said.

Sloniewsky added, "He'll probably be in the hospital for weeks, but whether he'll be in the ICU that long is hard to tell."

"My biggest goal and concern right now, above all else, is to get him off the [dialysis] machine and get him responding normally," Tirado told News 12 Long Island. "That's the priority. Anything after that we will deal with. I just want to get him to where he doesn't need a machine to sustain life."

With Gregg Sarra

and Laura Albanese

More high schools