It has long been accepted that Starr hurt his back during a punting exercise at Alabama. That is false, says Cherry Starr, who was with him at the time and throughout his life. Cherry told AL.com the truth is that Bart's injury happened during a gruesome ritualistic paddling for initiation into the university's A-Club for varsity lettermen.
"He was hospitalized at one point in traction," Cherry said. "That was in the days when they were initiated into the A-Club, and they had severe beatings and paddling. From all the members of the A-Club, they lined up with a big paddle with holes drilled in it, and it actually injured his back."
"But his back was never right after that," Cherry Starr said. "It was horrible. It was not a football injury. It was an injury sustained from hazing. His whole back all the way up to his rib cage looked like a piece of raw meat. The bruising went all the way up his back. It was red and black and awful looking. It was so brutal."