The head football coach at Rockwall-Heath High School, John Harrell, has since been suspended and placed on administrative leave after a group of his players required medical attention during an off-season workout last Friday (Jan. 6), according to Fox News 4.
High School Football Coach Accused Of Punishing Players With “Large Number Of Push-Ups”
Harrell is accused of demanding the students do “a large number of push-ups as a way to discipline players. The head coach has been with the program since 2019.
Meanwhile, school principal Todd Bradford sent a letter to parents confirming that some students “needed medical attention” with “some” even requiring hospitalization.
At least eight players were sent to the hospital, the Dallas Morning News reports.
This is a photo of Coach John Harrell taken by Rockwall ISD when he was hired.
A source close to the team told me student-athletes were forced to do almost 400 push-ups over a 60-minute athletics period as punishment.
District wouldn't tell me how many were hospitalized. pic.twitter.com/35qbwPUuNC
— Matt Howerton (@HowertonNews) January 11, 2023
One parent of a player who was hospitalized said their child was diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis, a severe medical condition that occurs when damaged muscle tissue releases its proteins and electrolytes into the bloodstream. The condition can cause permanent disability and even death.
The parent, who did not wish to be identified, told the outlet that the team had to do hundreds of push-ups within just an hours time.
Students Forced To Do Hundreds Of Push-Ups In An Hour, With No Water Or Breaks, Parent Says
The student-athletes were also denied breaks and water too, the parent added.
School District Says It Has Hired Third Party To Investigate Claims, Place Coach On Administrative Leave
The school district, who have since hired an “independent third party” to investigate the claims, released a statement saying the “district is also taking interim action” as that investigation plays out.
“The district is also taking interim action, including but not limited to, placing Coach Harrell on administrative leave while the investigation is pending and notifying appropriate outside agencies.”
The district added it has been in touch with the affected families and athletes.