Texas football players sick after 300 push-ups, coach on leave

A high school football coach in Texas was put on leave after reportedly asking some of his players to do 300 push-ups or more in an hour. The players’ parents, who were tasked with the simple exercise on Friday, came forward on Monday, saying their children were ill and some even hospitalized.

The Rockwall Independent School District (RISD) on Tuesday sent a letter to parents in which Rockwall Heath High School coach John Harrell told players during an afternoon track and field lesson that they “have to do several push-ups.”

Some of the student-athletes who became ill while requiring more than 300 push-ups during the 60-minute span suffer from rhabdomyolysis (rhabdo), according to WFAA, the Dallas-based ABC affiliate.

“Please know that the district took immediate action to address the situation and support our students,” RISD said in its letter.

Texas High School Football Stadium
Brenham High School football stadium before kickoff in 2017 before a game against Magnolia West (TX).
Photo by Scott McDonald

Rhabdo is a condition where breakdown of muscle tissue can release harmful proteins into the bloodstream.

The school district hired an outside party to investigate the in-class exercise and see if there was a link to those who became ill or hospitalized. RISD has also said that Harrell has been placed on leave during the investigation.

Rockwall Heath High School said its on-campus athletic trainer can diagnose some of athletes’ symptoms and that other athletes should be screened if they have any of the following:

  • Cannot bend or straighten arms
  • Cannot raise arms above head
  • Dark urine (tea or cola colored)
  • Sharp arm pain

Other symptoms could include stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, confusion, loss of consciousness, or lack of urination, according to the CDC.

“Anyone can get rhabdo, but workers in many different occupations have a higher chance of developing rhabdo,” reports the CDC on its website. “Early treatment can prevent serious medical problems and increase your chances of a speedy recovery and return to work without lasting adverse health effects.”

RISD continued to explain.

“Student safety is Rockwall ISD’s top priority and we will continue to take prompt and appropriate action in the best interests of our students as we address the situation,” Rockwall Heath said in his letter.

Rockwall Heath is one of the east Dallas suburbs and has been a strong high school program for the past decade. The Hawks went 7-5 last season when they lost to eventual Class 6A Division II state champion DeSoto in the second round of the playoffs.

Rockwall Heath went 11-2 last season and 10-3 into the 2020 Covid season after going 5-5 in the 2019 season.

https://www.newsweek.com/texas-football-players-sick-after-300-push-ups-demand-coach-put-leave-1772847 Texas football players sick after 300 push-ups, coach on leave

Rick Schindler

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