Three Oregon football players were hospitalized late last week following, as first reported by The Oregonian, "grueling" workouts "akin to military basic training." Cam McCormick, a tight end, and offensive linemen Doug Brenner and Sam Poutasi are reportedly in good condition. Oloka Poutasi, Sam's mother, told The Oregonian her son was suffering from rhabdomyolysis, a condition often associated with overtraining, in which muscle tissue breaks down to such a degree that it enters the bloodstream. The condition can cause serious kidney damage and, in extreme cases, is treated with dialysis.
"The safety and welfare of all of our student-athletes is paramount in all that we do," reads a University of Oregon statement, as quoted by The Oregonian. "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."
Rhabdomyolysis is rare, preventable, and dangerous enough that Oregon's program will have to answer some tough questions about the duration and intensity of the workout. As The Oregonian notes, the NCAA's medical handbook includes guidelines for ramping up physical exercise after a break, specifically to avoid rhabdomyolysis. Trainers were reportedly present during the workouts.
After the initial news broke, local television reporter Kristen Rodgers offered more on Twitter: