A high school football coach in Texas was fired this week after several student-athletes had to be hospitalized following grueling off-season training, authorities said.
Rockwall-Heath HS coach John Harrell was placed on paid administrative leave Tuesday following practice a week ago on Friday that led to players being hospitalized, Rockwall Independent School District representative Renae Murphy said in a statement. to NBC News on Friday.
She declined to describe the circumstances of those injuries, citing federal privacy laws.
But in a letter to the parents of soccer players, the school’s principal, Todd Bradford, revealed that “student-athletes were required to perform multiple push-ups” and that “students needed medical attention and, in some cases, , hospitalization”.
Bradford promised that the district would “fully investigate any connection between classroom activities and student illnesses” and will hire “an independent third party to investigate the event.”
“Student safety is a top priority for Rockwall ISD and we will continue to take immediate and appropriate action in the best interest of our students as we address this situation,” Bradford added.
Harrell is also the athletic coordinator at Rockwall-Heath HS, which is about 25 miles northeast of downtown Dallas.
Harrell could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday.
He was named the varsity head coach in January 2022, and the Hawks went 7-5 in his season in charge.
The Hawks’ final game of the season was a 52-7 loss to DeSoto HS in the 6A DII playoffs on November 17. DeSoto won the Division 6A II title.