Football coach suspended 2 games after having players crawl on scorching turf

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Friday, September 11, 2015

STRATFORD, Conn. -- A Connecticut high school football coach has been suspended for two games after he had his players working out in the heat, and the turf got so hot that it burned some players.

The Stratford head coach is T.J. Cavaliere, who during Monday's practice, as punishment for goofing off, ordered players to do a spider-like crawl around the entire field with their hands behind their backs.

More than a dozen players burned their hands crawling on the artificial turf as temperatures soared above 90 degrees.

In a letter to parents, Cavaliere apologized and said the exercise was in response to poor behavior during a scrimmage on Friday. He says he wasn't aware the turf could cause blisters and that he learned a "valuable lesson."

Zach Smith is a senior on the Stratford High School football team and disputes the seriousness of an incident that led to blisters and burns on the palms of players' hands.

"He's the kind of guy that if he knew that was going to happen, he would have not done it," Smith said.

One player Tweeted a picture of his hand with skin dangling and the words "Stratford High morning practice outcome...yummy."

A parent, whose child is not on the team, is among those outraged.

"That kid should have definitely walked off the field and called his mother to come pick him up, bottom line," parent Felicia Murray said. "Because that is unacceptable."

Cavaliere was not at practice Wednesday afternoon, and school officials wouldn't say why, calling any potential discipline a personnel issue. Superintendent of schools Janet Robinson acknowledged she got complaints from the parents of two players.