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Hofstra Tackle Dies
Ciampi was 20;
cause of death

By: Brad Geiger. Staff Writer
Date: 11-02-99

    John Ciampi, a starting offensive tackle on the Hofstra football team, died Sunday afternoon at Island Medical Center in Hempstead. The cause of death will not be announced until an autopsy is performed. Ciampi, a 6-4, 320-pound junior, was 20. Hofstra officials said the autopsy report will be released later this week.
   Hofstra athletic director Harry Royle said foul play was not involved. He also noted that Ciampi had not had any major known medical
problems. "We are grieving and saddened at the loss of a fine young man," Royle said. "We are as anxious to get the information on him as anyone else." A source at Hofstra said Ciampi visited friends in his hometown of Pelham on Saturday night. He returned to the Hofstra campus by 2 a.m. Sunday, the source said, and later went to a nightspot near the campus.
  Jon Cianciotto, an employee at the nightspot, confirmed that Ciampi arrived with other football players between 3 and 3:30 a.m. " was there for around an hour," said Cianciotto, who added that the players arrived from a party at Hofstra USA, an on-campus club. "He seemed fine to me. I was talking to him and he was normal." After Ciampi exited the nightspot, Cianciotto said he noticed himwaiting for a ride, presumably back to his dormitory.
   Joe Shin, a senior on last season's team and current undergraduate assistant coach, was one of Ciampi's closest friends. He said he last saw Ciampi in the dormitory at about 6 a.m. Sunday. "It was right before he went to bed," Shin said. "He was fine." A spokes person at the Nassau County police department said students in Ciampi's dormitory noticed
that Ciampi was in a semi-conscious state and having trouble breathing, and called for medical assistance. Hofstra's public safety unit then called for an ambulance at 10:31 a.m. Ciampi was pronounced dead at 12:30 p.m.  A spokesperson at Island Medical Center declined to comment. Hofstra had a bye Saturday. Its game this Saturday at Buffalo is still scheduled.
   Coach Joe Gardi met with his players at 2 p.m. Sunday. School
counselors also were brought in to help the players handle the situation. "Some guys were in tears and crying, and there was a lot of hugging going on," Gardi said. "There was no lecturing. All we could do is pray and wish the best for his family. Our hearts go out to them." Gardi said he was "dumbfounded" when he received the news.
   As players and coaches filed into Margiotta Hall yesterday, their crestfallen faces spoke of the heavy pall on the program.
"Me and John were both like the same person," Shin said. "We were inseparable; we just clicked. He was an all-around funny guy." Senior linebacker Jim Emanuel recalled Ciampi's sense of humor. "He had this early-morning class and he would always walk by my window and yell, 'Yo, Emanuel, wake up.' It hasn't even hit me yet." Ciampi's mother, whose name was unavailable, passed away about two years ago.
   Hofstra officials said his father's whereabouts are unknown. Ciampi lived with his paternal grandparents. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Mix of Alcohol, and Painkiller
Led to Death of Hofstra Player

By Brad Geiger

John Ciampi, a 20-year-old junior on the Hofstra football team, died Oct. 31 of "acute
intoxication  of alcohol and oxycodone," a spokeswoman from the Nassau County medical examiner's office said Friday. The spokeswoman   also said Ciampi's death has been ruled "accidental." Oxycodone is used as a painkiller. The 'contents of the toxicology report were not released, so the amount of alcohol consumed and whether illegal substances were in Ciampi's system was not revealed. Any information that is disclosed at this time won't increase  or decrease our sadness or loss," Hofstra athletic director Harry Royle said. "Our university has always had a proactive and reactive anti-drug and alcohol-abuse policy in place.  But no matter how fine an institution's policy is, there is still occasionally an occurrence that short-circuits the system." Hofstra's drug policy states that 40 percent of all student-athletes. are
randomly tested before the start of each season.  Ten percent of student-athletes then are randomly tested every three weeks throughout the school year. The school also can administer a drug test if it suspects that any student-athlete is using drugs as evidenced by severe behavioral changes or other reasonable causes. Royle said Hofstra officials were not aware of any warmng signs that pointed toward Ciampi having a drug problem.  "There was not any indication that predicted this tragedy," Royle said.  Hofstra trainer Rick Zappala said Ciampi was not prescribed any painkillers this season.  He had surgery on his elbow last December, but the painkillers prescribed then, Zappala said, most likely had no connection to his death. Ciampi was raised by his grandparents in Pelham.  Roberta Ciampi, John's grandmother, was contacted at her home Friday but declined to comment. Ciampi was a 6-4 right tackle who was listed at 320 pounds but could have weighed as much as 350 at the time of his death. Coach Joe Gardi said before this season that Ciampi could have become a first ,or second round NFL draft pick in 2001.