The Oregon Ducks announced this evening that new strength coach Irele Oderinde would be suspended for a month without pay after intense offseason workouts sent three players to the hospital late last week. Two players remain hospitalized as of Tuesday night and one was released earlier today. Oderinde had just been officially hired by the school last week.
New head coach Willie Taggart took the blame for the hospitalizations. From The Oregonian:
“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,” Taggart said in a news release. The coach said he has visited the athletes at the hospital.
“I have addressed the issue with our strength and conditioning staff, and I fully support the actions taken today by the university,” Taggart said. “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.”
Oderinde will now also report directly to Oregon’s Director of Performance and Sports Science instead of to Taggart. According to the school’s statement, no other players besides Doug Brenner, Sam Poutasi, and Cam McCormick were demonstrating “negative effects,” although the Oregonian reports that a handful of other players also “showed symptoms of a potential exercise-related injury.” Both the school and the paper’s sources agree that the training staff was prepared to aid players if they had immediate trouble with the workout.
Safeguards were in place, multiple sources told The Oregonian/OregonLive on Tuesday: athletic trainers were ready with water on the sideline of the workout, and players were allowed to ask out if needed.