Kenyan Runner Claims Coach Made him Drink Blood
A Kenyan scholarship student says his track coach at Central Connecticut State University made him drink blood to make him run faster.
Charles Ngetich sued Connecticut State University in Superior Court.
Ngetich says he was on a full athletic scholarship in the fall semester of 2005 when coach George Kawecki told him "that Kawecki had seen a television documentary regarding an ethnic group in Kenya that drank blood as a tribal ritual. Kawecki stated to plaintiff that he wanted to see plaintiff drink some blood."
Ngetich says he "assumed that Kawecki was jesting and stated that he did not wish to drink any blood."
But about two weeks later, Ngetich says, "while at a track team meeting, in the reception area leading to Kawecki’s office and in the presence of several members of the team, Coach Kawecki produced a cup of blood, told plaintiff that he was too thin, needed calcium, and demanded that plaintiff drink it.
"Because of the undue influence of Coach Kawecki, plaintiff believed that he had no option but to drink the blood. He did so in the presence of Kawecki and approximately ten (10) team members."
He adds: "On one occasion after the forced drinking of blood, Coach Kawecki gave an additional bottle of blood to plaintiff to take home with him to drink. On each occasion plaintiff took the blood and pretended to take it home for the purpose of drinking. On each occasion plaintiff disposed of the bottle of blood after leaving the presence of Coach Kawecki. At no further time did plaintiff drink the blood that was forced upon him by Coach Kawecki."
Ngetich says Kawecki also singled him out at a team meeting and his "teammates laughed at him because of the implications regarding his poverty," in Kenya.
During a team workout in December 2006, Ngetich says, he and Kawecki "approached a female former team member and recent graduate who had a puppy on a leash. Kawecki pointed to the puppy and asked plaintiff ‘How many people can you feed with this?’ The female teammate, appearing to be in shock, then asked plaintiff if they eat dogs in Kenya? Plaintiff said no. Plaintiff was extremely embarrassed and humiliated by this exchange."
Ngetich says his scholarship was cut from 100 percent to 60 percent in 2007 because his performance had dropped off due to his depression which stemmed from the treatment from his coach teammates who were emboldened by the coach’s behavior.
In 2008 he lost his scholarship completely.
In 2009 Ngetich filed a lawsuit against the university and it withdrew his registration.
He says the school was aware of his clinical depression but failed to do anything about it. He says the school failed to provide a reasonable accommodation, and violated the disability discrimination provisions of the Fair Employment Act.
He is represented by Josephine Miller of East Hartford