At least three Oregon football players were admitted to a local hospital after “grueling strength and conditioning workouts” at the school last week, The Oregonian reported on Monday. The players are redshirt junior offensive lineman Doug Brenner, freshman offensive lineman Sam Poutasi, and freshman tight end Cam McCormick.
After the workouts at Oregon, Poutasi’s mother told The Oregonian he’d “complained of very sore arms” and received a diagnosis of rhabdomyolysis. That’s a dangerous syndrome that stems from muscular injury, in which muscle fibers die and their contents enter the bloodstream. It can lead to kidney failure. It appeared after workouts at Iowa about six years ago.
Oregon released this statement, which the paper says comes on behalf of the entire athletic department and doesn’t carry a single author’s name:
The safety and welfare of all of our student-athletes is paramount in all that we do. While we cannot comment on the health of our individual students, we have implemented modifications as we transition back into full training to prevent further occurrences. We thank our medical staff and trainers for their continued monitoring of the students and we will continue to support our young men as they recover.
It was announced last week that Oregon’s strength coach of three decades, Jim Radcliffe, won’t return to the program for the 2017 season. The school hasn’t said if his departure is connected to the players’ hospitalizations.
Further detail on the workouts from the Oregonian story:
Players this week were required to finish the same workouts, which were described by multiple sources as akin to military basic training, with one including up to an hour of continuous push-ups and up-downs. The sources said that some players "passed out" and others later complained of discolored urine, which is a common symptom of rhabdomyolysis. After testing, others were found to have highly elevated levels of creatine kinase, an indicator of the syndrome.
Oregon went 4-8 this season and fired its head coach, Mark Helfrich. The Ducks replaced him with South Florida coach Willie Taggart, who took over in December.
The newspaper said Taggart visited “some” of the hospitalized players before leaving the state on a recruiting trip. The players are at a facility in Springfield, Ore., the paper said, having been there since “late last week.”
Brenner is a reserve offensive guard for the Ducks. McCormick and Poutasi were both true freshmen this past season, and each took a redshirt year.