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 High School coach John Harrell was placed on paid administrative leave Tuesday following practice a week ago Friday that led to the hospitalization of players, 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 sports coordinator at schoolwhich is about 25 miles northeast of downtown Dallas. The paid leave covers his duties as football coach and administrative director of the high school athletic program.
Harrell could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday.
He was named 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 High School in the 6A Division II playoffs on November 17. DeSoto went on to win the title in that division.