Forced Exercise and Near Death
A letter to the editor about a violent coach, forced exercise and near death, News & Observer, Raleigh, NC, March 18, 1992

My father always said if I got in trouble at school I would get a whipping at home and he used a leather belt that left welts.

One day I told the Phys ed coach that I felt bad, but he ordered me to run a 3-mile run anyway. I had never missed a day of school in eight years.

The longer I ran, the sicker I got. I'd run a while and fall down and be sick a while. It took me 2 1/2 hours. The coach, who never came to look for me, reported me as skipping school.

That night the doctor found that my appendix had ruptured. They rushed me to the hospital where the surgeon made a 12 inch incision to clean out the mess. For two days they did not know if I would live or die.

This happened because I was afraid of what my father would do if I disobeyed a teacher. Six weeks later, when the coach told me to stack a room full of heavy steel chairs, I told him my stiches had not healed.

The coach slapped me across the mouth, splitting my lip. I knocked him down, went home and told my father what had happened. This time he and the doctor upheld me in front of the school board. And my father, to my surprise, told the coach that if he ever touched me again, the two of them would mix.

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