For one student at Lone Star College-CyFair, showing up 15 minutes late to class led to nine days in the hospital.
When Marciel Alvarado waltzed in late to his intro-level phys-ed class, the instructor, Chris Rousseau, decided that making him do squats for 35 minutes straight was an appropriate punishment — with no water breaks allowed, according to a lawsuit against the school, as first reported by ABC News.
Alvarado obeyed because he was worried about his grades and because he's a guy who respects authority, his attorney, Michael Martinez, told the Houston Press. So Alvarado actually did squats for 35 straight minutes. He left the class waddling awkwardly. Within 24 hours, Alvarado's pee was the color of Coca-Cola and he was writhing in pain in the emergency room. It was because muscles were literally self-destructing.
That’s what happens to people with rhabdomyolysis, which is the rapid destruction of skeletal muscles, causing muscle fibers to be released into the bloodstream and urine, potentially causing kidney failure. Damage can be permanent. This happens to people in the following common scenarios, according to WebMD: doing a lot of heroin or cocaine or PCP; getting struck by lightning; having a heat stroke; getting smashed in a building collapse or a traumatic car accident — and also in connection with extreme muscle strain. Or, extreme punishment workouts during an intro-level community college class.
“Needless to say, he did not enroll at Lone Star College for the spring semester,” Martinez said.
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Lone Star declined to comment, and Rousseau never responded to our request.
Alvarado ended up failing two classes because of the nine-day hospital stay. While he was in the hospital, he missed his opportunity to do a make-up exam for another class after already missing the test once before. He also never returned to Professor Rousseau's gym for the remainder of the semester.
According to Martinez, Rousseau never even said sorry to Alvarado.
“The only thing he got was a report card with two F's,” Martinez said.