Soccer Team Coaches Accused of Enforcing “Punishment Workouts” at Houston University

There always seems to be a fine line in sports when it comes to what is strengthening versus what can be seen as overexertion that can ultimately lead to permanent harm on muscles, joints, and ligaments. In a recent story by Daily Mail, according to an anonymous source on the women’s soccer team at Houston University, “punishment workouts” have been enforced on players since February of 2018. Since enforcement, these have led to a variety of health and physical issues among players that have even gone as far as to result in a student being hospitalized for five days.

Until word broke of the alleged overstrenuous punishment drills, players on the team were forced to complete exercises such as up-downs, planks, and shuttle runs at excessive durations and series that would result in players barely able to lift themselves off the ground and in tears due to the physical pain being endured. The player that was selfly hospitalized after such strain was diagnosed with a Rhabdomyolysis, a sometimes fatal syndrome that occurs after muscles fibers die off leaking acid into the bloodstream, and was further kept under observation for five consecutive days. Rhabdomyolysis is known to be caused by extreme stress on the muscles and can ultimately lead to kidney failure. This particular individual was not the only player on the team to have been diagnosed with Rhabdo in the past year.

According to the anonymous player and other students, the punishment workouts were enforced after the players did something incorrectly or not to the extent wanted from the coaches, leaving them fearful to speak out during practices. The root of this practice comes back to a supposed incident in which two players on the women’s soccer team stole food that was intended to be for the football team. As a result, the whole team was instructed into a series of strenuous drills and exercises. This form of repercussion has been reinstated since. Said player and student claimed to news organizations that, “One time we didn’t have the locker room cleaned and I think we did, like 75, when Diego [Bocanegra] told [Minor] Bowens to stop” and that the term “fitness punishments” was found to be included in the women’s soccer handbook that could be enforced for a variety of reason, some not even revolved around the physical sport itself.

The University of Houston has spoken out about the claims and has supposedly started an investigation in regards to the claims an incidents following. The school and more specifically Athletics Director Chris Pezman stated that not only have there been multiple cases of the medical condition of Rhabdo but that, “Athletics should never compromise your health and welfare,” and has supposedly implemented changes since in order to ensure the overall well being, health, and physicality of the student-athletes at the University.

To read the full story head to Daily Mail for more information.

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