Rhabdo Rampant at University of Houston

Andy Berg Headshot

This story previously stated that UH head women's soccer coach Diego Bocenegra had been fired. He has not been fired.

The University of Houston women's soccer team appears to have had a culture of extreme workouts and systemic physical punishments that lead to numerous cases of rhabdomyolysis. 

Trainer Minor Bowens has since been fired over an investigative report filed by Houston’s Channel 2, which uncovered a rash of rhabdo cases as a result of Bowens' workouts and policies. 

Channel 2 has since uncovered emails that show dozens of cases of rhabdo on the women's soccer team, and emails amongst school staff with links to articles titled, ““Rhabdomyolysis: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment” as well as “4 Things You Didn't Know about Rhabdomyolysis.” 

Related: U. of Houston Fires Strength Coach Over Rhabdo Cases

In one email between head women's soccer coach Diego Bocenegra and a student-athlete’s parent, Bocenegra wrote: "I want to reiterate that I have implemented several changes to help prevent this injury or any other similar injuries from happening in the future. For example, we no longer use physical punishment within our team. I removed it from our weight room manual.”

While it’s not clear exactly what was meant by “physical punishment,” Dr. David Ridpath, a professor of sports management at the University of Ohio, told Channel 2 that the case was “unbelievable.”

“I don't think I've ever seen punishments codified in any manual," Ridpath said.

The athletic department sent a written statement, reading in part, "The University of Houston has made tremendous investment in our student-athletes over the last several years to create an optimal environment for training and performance, in addition to their academic success."

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