MAHOPAC, N.Y. – Hours after sustaining a major head injury at a Mahopac football practice last Friday, 13-year-old Justin Sacco was airlifted to Westchester Medical Center where doctors performed emergency surgery to relieve massive bleeding on the youngster’s brain.

The procedure was an enormous success and Justin is already on the fast-track to a full recovery, according to Justin’s father Anthony Sacco.

“The doctors are astounded at the amount of things he is able to do already,” Anthony Sacco said. “They didn’t expect him to walk for a week and a half but yesterday (Wednesday) he walked about 25 steps with assistance and today (Thursday) did the same thing with me. The left arm is not fully functional yet but doctors say it will be. He’s fully coherent, he’s talking, and he’s getting all kinds of visitors.”

Sacco suffered a head injury when he and several teammates were having a catch before a “walk-through” football practice, which is essentially a non-contact practice that does not require players to wear their pads or helmets.

When Sacco bent over to pick a ball up off the ground, another player who was running full-speed, accidentally rammed his knee into the side of Sacco’s head near his temple.

“He didn’t go down at all, in fact he did a lap around the field and started doing the warm-ups,” said father Anthony Sacco. “One of the captains said, ‘Sacco you don’t look so good.’ Then the coach brought him over to the side.”

Anthony Sacco is an assistant coach on the team and by the time he arrived Justin was complaining of head pain. At first Anthony thought it was a minor injury.

“Justin said ‘Dad it really hurts’,” Anthony Sacco said. “I have to be honest, I thought it was a slight concussion and that was about it. I took him to the house and my wife and I gave him a couple of Advils”

Justin’s older brother T.J. was playing in the Mahopac varsity football homecoming game that night, so Anthony headed to the High School to watch the game. When he got to the field he got a terrifying call from his wife who was still at home tending to Justin.

“She told me he was vomiting and was incoherent and slurring words,” Anthony Sacco said. “We took him to Putnam Hospital where they did a CAT scan and they said, ‘there’s nothing we can do here, we have to rush him to Westchester Medical, it’s a really bad situation’.

“They sedated him so that he wouldn’t jolt his head around.”

As soon as the helicopter landed at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, Justin was rushed in for surgery, which was performed by Dr. Avinash Mohan.

“After about an hour of surgery the doctors told me and my wife, ‘the surgery went OK’ and that’s really all I heard,” Anthony Sacco said. “He [the doctor] was still talking but all I heard was, ‘the surgery went OK’, and I didn’t care about anything else, it didn’t matter.”

Justin was expected to be transferred to Blythedale Children’s Hospital either Thursday or Friday where he can “start his real road to recovery” said Anthony Sacco.

In order to assist the Sacco family financially during Justin’s recovery, Zack’s Pizzeria on Route 6N in Mahopac will be donating ten percent of its Columbus Day proceeds to the family.

“Mahopac and surrounding areas, the support from the community is just ridiculous, it’s great” Anthony Sacco said.

Anthony Sacco said all of the teams that Justin plays against are putting a decal on their helmets in tribute to Justin.

(Courtesy of

The Orthopedic & Brain Injury Law Group of Goldblatt & Associates, P.C. represents the legal interests of those individuals who have sustained traumatic orthopedic and brain injuries due to the negligence of others. In representing our clients, the firm oversees and handles all aspects of insurance issues ranging from ensuring client’s medical bills are paid and assisting client’s in getting reimbursed for out of pocket expenses, including lost wages.