On December 7th, the Oregon football team hired Willie Taggart from USF on a 5 year $16 million contract. What was seen as a great signing according to many fans soon took a turn for the worse. Taggart’s first step to get his new team in the right direction was to set up a series of workouts. The workouts were meant to get the team together and get them into shape. It was also a chance for the players to showcase their mental and physical strength.
However these workouts took a turn for the worse, when three players were admitted to the hospital. Offensive lineman Doug Brenner, tight end Cam McCormick, and offensive tackle Sam Poutasi. All were admitted for sore muscles and exercise related injuries. Poutasi’s mother told sources that her son was diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis, this disease causes skeletal muscle tissue to rapidly break down and the products of that process are released into the bloodstream. This could lead to kidney failure.
The specific workout that put all three players in the hospital was from a designed military training. This workout included up to an hour of straight pushups, and sit ups. Taggart commented on the workout saying ““We knew our guys weren’t in shape so we didn’t put them in the weight room or run them, or anything. We’re going to build up to that. It all started with pushups and sit-ups.” Other players on the team spoke out in support of Coach Taggart, saying that the workout was similar to the ones they had in high school.
Since the incident, Strength and Conditioning Coach, Irele Oderinde, was suspended without pay for a month as a result of this situation. The three players were released from the hospital three weeks later. Coach Taggart will be under a microscope for the upcoming series after a slew of unfortunate events