Eight Texas high school students are hospitalized after they were forced to perform 400 push-ups

Eight Texas high school students are hospitalized after they were forced to perform 400 push-ups in an hour without water breaks as punishment by their coach

  • Rockwall-Heath High School Head Football Coach, John Harrell, has been put on administrative leave following Friday’s workout 
  • Eight football players were hospitalized after being forced to do 300 to 400 push-ups within an hour 
  • Parents claim the students were forced to do the strenuous workout with breaks
  • The Dallas-based school has launched an investigation into the incident 
  • Harrell was promoted to head coach in January 2022 and he has been with the school since 2019 

Eight high school students in Texas have been hospitalized after they were forced to do 400 push-ups in an hour without any breaks by the football coach. 

Rockwall-Heath High School Head Football Coach, John Harrell, has been put on administrative leave after he reportedly forced students to do 300 to 400 push-ups during an eighth-period athletic class on Friday. 

A mother, who did not want to be identified, claimed the football players were forced to do the intense workout without water breaks, according to Fox 4 News

She said her son was diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis – the breakdown of muscle tissue that can release damaging proteins into the bloodstream, which can cause kidney damage or failure. 

It is unclear what the other seven students were diagnosed with. None of the players’ identities have been released. 

Rockwall-Heath High School Head Football Coach, John Harrell, has been put on administrative leave following Friday's workout

Rockwall-Heath High School Head Football Coach, John Harrell, has been put on administrative leave following Friday’s workout

Eight football players were hospitalized after being forced to do 300 to 400 push-ups within an hour. Parents claim the students were forced to do the strenuous workout with breaks

Eight football players were hospitalized after being forced to do 300 to 400 push-ups within an hour. Parents claim the students were forced to do the strenuous workout with breaks

Principal Todd Bradford addressed the situation on Monday, writing in a letter to student-athlete parents: ‘On Monday, January 9, 2023, several parents reported that their student(s) subsequently needed medical attention, and in some cases, hospitalization. Please know the District immediately implemented measures to address the situation and provide support for our students.’ 

It also advised parents to inform their students to see the trainer if they experience not being able to ‘bend or extend your arms, unable to lift arms above your head, dark urine (tea or cola-colored), and sharp arm pain,’ as well as, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, confusion, or lethargy. 

‘Student safety is a top priority for Rockwall IDS and we will continue to take immediate and appropriate measures in the best interests of our students as we address this situation,’ the letter said. 

The Dallas-based school has also launched a third-party investigation into the incident and said students who attended the class on Monday did a light, nonstrenuous workout. 

Despite the terrifying situation, some of the players defended Harrell and said he was not trying to harm students, but to teach them discipline. 

The Dallas-based school has launched an investigation into the incident and warned students to see the school's trainer if they are having trouble extending or lifting their arms or had dark-colored urine

The Dallas-based school has launched an investigation into the incident and warned students to see the school’s trainer if they are having trouble extending or lifting their arms or had dark-colored urine 

Player Barry Luff, who was at the workout, told Fox 4 News: ‘He’s treated us with nothing but respect and he loves every single one of us like his own.’ 

Luff also told WFAA that Harrell was at the hospital ‘all night with those boys’ to make sure they were okay. 

‘He would never made us do a workout thinking that it was going to put any of us at risk,’ he told the outlet. 

His mother also defended the coach, saying she ‘would have been the first person up at the principal’s office’ if she thought something was wrong. 

Harrell was promoted to head coach in January 2022 and he has been with the school since 2019.  

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