OAK HILLS: (VVNG.com)- On the afternoon of Wednesday, September 17, Oak Hills High School Junior Varsity Volleyball practice was in full swing, including portions of practice that had the team outside in temperatures reaching into the 90’s.
Volleyball can result in minor injuries to players as they dive across the court, so Irene Castro thought nothing was strange when her daughter, a sophomore at the school, came home with her hands wrapped after practice.
On Thursday morning, Castro’s daughter had her hands unwrapped, which revealed two huge blisters across her palms. Castro learned the injuries were caused when the volleyball team was made to do “bear crawls” (walking on one’s hands and feet for exercise), on scorching pavement outside. Castro’s daughter said athletes also had to do other exercises that involved keeping their hands on the ground for prolonged amounts of time.
Castro took her daughter to the doctor immediately to get the wounds treated and to have the injuries documented. Castro contacted the school to alert them about what happened. Castro said she was “in full mama bear mode”, and was going to do whatever it took to get the situation resolved. She went to the Hesperia police department to file a report, contacted the school’s athletic director, and also posted her story to several social media groups.
On Friday, September 19, Oak Hills High School’s Principal Secretary Trish Johnson told Victor Valley News that “The individual has been taken care of, and is no longer with the school.” Further comment was declined and questions were referred to the Hesperia Unified School District. Victor Valley News contacted the Hesperia Unified School District and was informed that they did not have a statement ready about the incident. They made note of several questions we asked, saying they would look into getting answers, but have yet to provide any at the time of publishing. Updates will be provided if new information is released.
While school officials typically must pass a background check to be hired, it is unclear what credentials are required to be a team coach for the school. Castro, a personal trainer, was concerned about the way athletes are being pushed.
“Your goal when you’re trying to build up a person is to strengthen them,” said Castro, “The training process needs to be more in-depth. Go hard or go home is not educated, that’s ‘Bro’-science.” She also had a message for parents, telling them to “question everything.”
“The screening process isn’t what it should be. You shouldn’t put your kid’s life or health in someone’s hands that you know nothing about. As parents it’s our job to protect our children. This is an eye opener for parents to protect our children, step up and say something. Who knows how many times this could have happened again in the future if no one had said anything.”
“Just be more aware, be more hands on. Coach our kids to step up and say something. Be more educated about who is coaching our kids,” Castro continued, “Oak Hills is a new school and their reputation isn’t going in the direction it should be.” Castro’s daughter is expected to make a full recovery. It is unclear who will take over the duties of coaching the Junior Varsity team.
The Hesperia Unified School District is still encouraged to answer the following questions:
• What is the hiring process and qualifications for school coaches?
• What are the plans for preventing another incident like this happening in the future?
• Although high school sports can be extremely competitive, what does the HUSD consider too far in regards to training and playing?
• What is the HUSD’s message to parents concerned about the leaders they are entrusting their children to?
• There were reports that the girls had to do the exercises outside because of a subpar performance at a tournament the previous weekend. Did these injuries result from punishment that could have been prevented if the team had performed better in the tournament?
Arrow Santos can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Arrow_VVNews