Several high school football players were hospitalized after taking part in an offseason workout program on Jan. 6.
Rockwall-Heath High School head football coach John Harrell made the players do 400 push-ups in a 60-minute span as a part of the workout, per the Dallas Morning News. School officials discovered three days later that some student-athletes required medical attention. Other needed hospital care, though it’s unclear how many. Harrell has been placed on administrative leave.
Some of the players were reportedly diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it occurs when damaged muscle tissue releases its proteins and electrolytes into the blood. These substances can damage the heart and kidneys and cause permanent disability or even death.
Brady Luff, junior team captain, revealed that water was made available to players during the workout.
“[Coach Harrell’s] treated us with nothing but respect, and he loves every single one of us like his own,” Luff said, via TMZ Sports.
Investigation Ongoing After Several High School Football Players are Hospitalized
Rockwall-Heath High School principal Todd Bradford said that the district is handling the situation. A third-party is investigating possible connections between the activities in class and student illnesses.
“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,” Bradford wrote. “District administrators and campus personnel have been in contact with the affected families and student-athletes.”
Harrell served three seasons as an assistant coach at the high school before being named head coach in January 2022. Prior to his arrival, he coached at schools in Stephenville, Midlothian and in the Garland Independent School District. He has yet to publicly comment on the situation. No charges have been filed.