A Heard High School teacher and coach endured a serious injury to his hand during a weight room accident last Friday.
Rich Fendley, one of the most popular coaches at the school, injured his left index finger when he jumped in to try to help a student who lost control while lifting some heavy weights.
A 17-year-old senior, Zack Dewberry, was doing “box squats” with 350+ pounds when the incident took place.
“I was doing my squat work-out,” stated Dewberry. “We were doing sets of three and when I finished my first two reps and was about to start my third I passed out. Coach Fendley went to push me out from under the weight and his hand got caught under the weight.”
Fendley spoke in a phone interview Tuesday night about the accident and his prognosis.
“I got scared for Zack and thought he was about to get hurt bad so I ran in and tried to push him out from under the weight. Then I was faced with trying to keep the weight off of me and it was just too much for me to grab and hold so it landed on my finger with about 400 pounds of pressure,” stated Fendley.
Injured left hand of Coach Fendley right after the accident
Fendley suffered six broken bones in the finger.
“It just so happens that none of the tendons or ligaments were damaged. My finger just exploded and all the skin came off,” he added.
The coach credited team trainer David Scruggs with the strong prognosis for his injured digit.
Heard County Athletic Director Tim Barron immediately drove Fendley to the Carrollton Orthopedic Clinic for treatment where Scruggs stitched up the very serious wound.
Fendley believes he has a good chance to make a full recovery with proper treatment and therapy in the coming months.
The strength coach for the football team, a West Georgia graduate, also coaches the tennis team and is the chairman of the physical education department. He was able to return to work on Wednesday.