Fourteen-year-old Rodney Kim Jr. had just learned he'd made Davidson High School's varsity football team. He was a freshman at the Mobile, Alabama, high school, and moving up the ranks to play in the NFL was one of his dreams, his mother told AL.com.
But police say after Rodney heard the good news, one of his teammates allegedly shoved him to the ground — and then the punches just kept coming, according to Fox 10.
Video recorded on a cell phone captures the alleged attack that took place in the school's locker room right after Rodney was told he'd be playing with the upperclassmen next season.
The short, chaotic video shows a group of male students kicking and pummeling another boy who lies curled up on the ground. After a few seconds, two boys leap into the air, one after the other, and crash down on the boy's left side.
"He’s mentally traumatized,” the boy’s mother, Mary Rayford-Kim, told WKRG. "He woke up in the night screaming, and we went to him and he said he thought he was being jumped again."
That afternoon, Rodney's parents got a call from the school saying their son had been hurt at football practice, and they came to pick him up, FOX 10 reported. They took him to the hospital, where he was treated for bruises, a busted lip and a broken arm that required surgery, according to the station.
Now four students have been suspended from school while Mobile police investigate the incident, WKRG reported. Rodney's parents plan to press charges.
"I'm asking for the Mobile Police Department to do their job, you came on the news, MPD, just two weeks ago saying do not take matters into your own hands. So now I'm asking you, to do your job please ... it has to stop, and I'm praying that it stops with my son," she told Fox 10.
The Mobile Police Department said in a statement to WKRG that it "will provide an update on those arrested and the charges," as the investigation continues.
"He’s definitely not going back to Davidson. We are looking into putting him in a private school. Something has to be done, and I will not stop until it is," Rodney's mom told AL.com. "I’ve been calling on coach Riley to be fired. He had knowledge of this. We are not going to stop until we get justice for our son."
Coach Fred Riley has not commented on the incident, although a former assistant coach who worked under Riley told AL.com Riley was a "great coach and leader of young men" and he had never seen something like this in the 13 years he worked in the program.
Mobile County Superintendent Martha Peek said the district was working with police to investigate and would "leave no rock unturned on this," according to Lagniappe Mobile.
“We regret anything like this happening. We don’t want anyone hurt, certainly when it results in an injury like this. It’s a disturbing situation that we by no means condone in any way," she told the paper.
The Kims told ABC News other parents came forward with similar stories after hearing about their son. “This has to stop before someone else gets injured,” Kim's father told the site.
Peek told AL.com she had no knowledge of any tradition of hazing at the program.
"I have not dealt with any situation like this in the six years certainly that I have been superintendent or even before as deputy superintendent. I don’t know of any tradition like this in the school system," she told the site. "As I am out in public, there have been different opinions -- people who are as concerned as I am and others who say, ‘you know in locker rooms this has happened since time began.’ Well, if it has been, then it is time for it to stop.”