Multiple student-athletes had to be hospitalized after a Texas high school football practice held on Jan. 6, and after outrage from parents, the state Department of Family and Protective Services is investigating. Rockwall-Heath High School placed Coach John Harrell on leave after the offseason football workout, which involved hundreds of push-ups, WFAA reports. The school district has also hired an independent third party to investigate, CBS Sports reports. At least 15 students reportedly needed some form of medical attention; at least two of the students who were hospitalized stayed for nearly a week. It's not clear exactly how many students required medical treatment or hospitalization.
Several players were hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis or "rhabdo," a dangerous condition in which muscle tissue is damaged and starts to break down, then releases a harmful protein into the blood. "It's a very serious condition. It can lead to cardiac complications, kidney failure, and even dialysis," says the mother of one boy who was hospitalized, who is also a family physician. A source tells Fox 4 students were made to do 300 push-ups as punishment, during an hour in which no breaks and no water were given, and parents who spoke to WFAA say the football players made 23 mistakes during their prescribed workout and were assigned 16 push-ups per mistake. (Read more Texas stories.)