A high school football coach has been suspended after multiple players on the team needed medical attention following a workout.
The high school players were forced to perform up to 400 push-ups in an hour as punishment by their coach, according to local reports. Rockwall-Heath High School head football coach John Harrell is now on leave while the school district said it hired an “independent third party” to investigate the incident.
In a letter to parents, the school said the incident happened on Friday during an off-season football program. One mother claims her son was forced to do 300 to 400 push-ups with no water breaks, according to the Dallas Morning News, but she did not want to be identified for fear of retaliation.
That parent’s son was hospitalized and diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis, which can cause kidney damage or failure, the paper reported.
“As a parent, we send our kids to school trusting that they will be cared for at the highest level,” the parent said. “That has been the case until this unfortunate event.”
Rockwall Heath administrators issued a statement to these concerned parents.
“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 letter to parents read. “District administrators and campus personnel have been in contact with the affected families and student-athletes.”
At least eight students were hospitalized after the extreme workout, according to the paper.
Harrell has been the head football coach at Rockwall-Heath for a year and has been part of the school’s program since 2019.