Oregon strength coach suspended 1 month after players hospitalized

ByChantel Jennings ESPN logo
Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Oregon has suspended strength and conditioning coach Irele Oderinde without pay for a month, the result of incidents over the past week that left three Ducks football players hospitalized after offseason conditioning workouts that he led.

In addition to Oderinde's suspension, Oregon changed its system of reporting, with the strength and conditioning coach now answering to the Ducks' director of performance and sports science, Andrew Murray, instead of to new head coach Willie Taggart.

As of Tuesday evening, Ducks tight end Cam McCormick and offensive lineman Sam Poutasi were still patients at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield, Oregon, the hospital confirmed to ESPN. Offensive lineman Doug Brenner, who also had been admitted, was no longer listed as an in-house patient.

On Monday, The Oregonian reported that Poutasi's mother said her son had been diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis, a condition in which skeletal muscle tissue is rapidly broken down and products of that process are released into the bloodstream.

Depending on the severity, it can be harmful to the kidneys and might lead to kidney failure, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

"I have visited with the three young men involved in the incidents in the past few days and I have been in constant contact with their families, offering my sincere apologies," Taggart said in a news release.

"As the head football coach, I hold myself responsible for all of our football-related activities and the safety of our students must come first. I have addressed the issue with our strength and conditioning staff, and I fully support the actions taken today by the university. I want to thank our medical staff and doctors for caring for all of our young men, and I want to apologize to the university, our students, alumni and fans."

Former football strength and conditioning coach Jim Radcliffe, who had held the position before Taggart's arrival, will take over the offseason workouts for the next month.

Multiple sources described the workouts to The Oregonian as "akin to military basic training, with one said to include up to an hour of continuous push-ups and up-downs."

However, a source told ESPN.com that the workouts weren't as strenuous as The Oregonian reported, indicating for example that players haven't started using weights yet. Several Ducks players also took to Twitter to downplay the reported severity of the workouts.

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