EUGENE, OR -SEPTEMBER 06: A general view of Autzen Stadium during the second quarter of the game between the Oregon Ducks and the Michigan State Spartans at Autzen Stadium on September 6, 2014 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

Just over a month ago, the University of Oregon football team made an interesting move by hiring Willie Taggart away from the University of South Florida to be their new Head Coach. Before he’s even coached a game, Taggart has found himself in the middle of a controversial situation.

Word has gotten out that at least three members of the Ducks’ football team were hospitalized this past week after suffering through brutal strength and conditioning workouts, according to The Oregonian:

At least three Oregon Ducks football players were hospitalized after enduring a series of grueling strength and conditioning workouts at UO last week, The Oregonian/OregonLive has learned.

The three players who were admitted to PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center were offensive linemen Doug Brenner and Sam Poutasi, along with tight end Cam McCormick. Brenner is currently a junior while Poutasi and McCormick are both freshmen.

All three players were sent to the hospital late last week and are still there as of now:

“The safety and welfare of all of our student-athletes is paramount in all that we do,” Oregon wrote in a statement on behalf of the entire athletic department. “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.”

Oloka Poutasi is Sam’s mother and spoke with reporters about the issue. She said Poutasi was complaining about sore arms after the workouts and was later diagnosed with rhabdomyloysis, which is a syndrome that causes the break down of soft muscle tissue.

Taggart visited the three players in the hospital before leaving Oregon to recruit. Despite three players going to the hospital for the grueling workouts, their teammates had to finish those same workouts this week. The Oregonian’s sources described the workouts as being similar to military basic training.

Some players after the workouts complained about certain symptoms related to rhabdomyolysis, which can be caused by a spike in workout intensity and overexertion.

According to the NCAA medical handbook, workouts after a “transitional period” like a winter break is one of 10 factors for an increase in risk of rhabdomyolysis. That’s why it’s expected this is what most players at Oregon suffered from these past two weeks as they all just returned to school from winter break.

Taggart and new strength and conditioning coach Irele Oderinde were both hired after the Ducks didn’t qualify for a bowl for the first time since 2004. Both came from USF where they led the Bulls to a 11-2 record this past year.

[Oregon Live]

About David Lauterbach

David is a writer for The Comeback. He enjoyed two Men's Basketball Final Four trips for Syracuse before graduating in 2016. If The Office or Game of Thrones is on TV, David will be watching.