Three University of Oregon players on the Ducks football team are recuperating at a local hospital after a series of intense workouts last week that left one of the players with a rare, serious condition, the Oregonian reports. Offensive linemen Doug Brenner and Sam Poutasi and tight end Cam McCormick are in fair condition, per a hospital spokeswoman. But Poutasi's mom says her son now has rhabdomyolysis, a condition where muscle tissue breaks into pieces that enter the bloodstream, which can lead to kidney failure. The NCAA sports medicine handbook says hard workouts right after a "transitional period" like the winter break the players just had could lead to rhabdomyolysis cases. The injuries come just a little over a month after Willie Taggart came aboard as the team coach, saying back in December his team needed to get "bigger and stronger," per the Register-Guard.
To say the Ducks' workouts are rigorous may be an understatement, based on multiple sources who talked to the Oregonian, offering comparisons to military basic training and rumors that some of the participants were fainting (a university official denies that allegation). "The safety and welfare of all of our student-athletes is paramount in all that we do," the college says in a statement, adding that "modifications" have been incorporated into the regimen to make sure such injuries don't happen again. Other players have taken to social media to dismiss claims of any over-the-top exercise, with junior cornerback Ugochukwu Amadi tweeting it's "not even what the media is portraying it to be," while offensive tackle Tyrell Crosby posted, "i have no idea what's soft or out of shape about a man pushing himself until he can't go no more." (How bad is too much exercise?)