Oregon strength coach suspended following hospitalization of players

Dr. Saturday
Oregon began offseason workouts on Jan. 10. (Getty)
Oregon began offseason workouts on Jan. 10. (Getty)

Oregon has suspended strength coach Irele Oderinde for a month without pay after three players were hospitalized following offseason conditioning workouts.

The Oregonian reported Monday night that offensive linemen  Doug Brenner and Sam Poutasi and tight end Cam McCormick were in fair condition following the commencement of winter workouts.

According to the school, players began workouts on Jan. 10. On Jan. 12, the third day of workouts, a player “complained of muscle soreness and displayed other symptoms of potential exercise-related injury.” Two other players were then found to have similar symptoms.

Poutasi’s mother told the Oregonian that her son had complained of extreme soreness and had been diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis, which can be caused by excessively intense workouts. When someone is suffering from rhabdo, a protein, myoglobin, is released into the bloodstream and can severely damage the kidneys.

New Oregon head coach Willie Taggart, hired to replace Mark Helfrich in December, issued an apology in the school’s statement announcing Oderinde’s suspension.

“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 the statement. “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.”

In addition to suspending Oderinde, the school has also shifted oversight of the football strength and conditioning program from Taggart to the school’s director of performance and sports science. It’s an appropriate reaction to the hospitalization of three players and it’s imperative to note rhabdomyolysis — a potentially fatal affliction in severe cases —  is not and should never be a normal occurrence as the result of hard workouts.

Oderinde came to Oregon with Taggart from South Florida. Before spending three years at South Florida, he was the strength coach at West Virginia for a season.

For more Oregon news, visit DuckSportsAuthority.com.

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Nick Bromberg is the assistant editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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