Category Archives: The Body Is A Temple

Tough guy

Willie Taggart is Oregon’s new head coach and like many of his ilk, wasted little time in regime change.  This time of year, that means tougher strength and conditioning work, under the direction of a new S&C coach he brought in.

Things are going swimmingly.

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.

Offensive linemen Doug Brenner and Sam Poutasi and tight end Cam McCormick are in fair condition and remained at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at Riverbend in Springfield on Monday, a hospital spokeswoman said. They have been in the hospital since late last week after workouts that occurred during the team’s return from holiday break.

Poutasi’s mother, Oloka, said that her son complained of very sore arms after the workouts and had been diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis, a syndrome in which soft muscle tissue is broken down with “leakage into the blood stream of muscle contents,” according to the NCAA medical handbook. Depending on the severity, it has the potential to lead to damaged kidneys.

Nice.  But the school is very sorry.

“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.”

Actually, I have to give Oregon a little more credit than that.

The University of Oregon suspended football strength and conditioning coach Irele Oderinde one month without pay after three players were hospitalized following a series of intense workouts last week.

The school announced the decision in a statement Tuesday evening and detailed a review of the incident. It added that all future workouts have been modified and the strength and conditioning coach will now report to director of performance and sports science Andrew Murray instead of coach Willie Taggart, who apologized in the statement.  [Emphasis added.]

Oregon’s statement detailed that players began an off-season conditioning program last Tuesday after six weeks away from “football-related activities” and Oderinde led those workouts.

I wonder how many other D-1 head coaches have lost control over their strength and conditioning programs after only one month on the job.  For that matter, I wonder how many other D-1 head coaches have lost control over their strength and conditioning programs.

But here’s what I really don’t get.

The NCAA medical handbook listed “novel workouts or exercises immediately following a transitional period” such as a winter break as one of its 10 factors that can increase the risk of rhabdomyolysis. It also cautioned that “all training programs should start slowly, build gradually, include adequate rest and allow for individual differences.”

The NCAA constantly blathers about its concern for the well-being of student-athletes.  Where is it in this mess?  The reason this came to light was because of media reports.  But for that, it’s likely that Taggart wouldn’t have been penalized.  Is waving a medical handbook the best the organization can offer?  Don’t answer that…


Filed under The Body Is A Temple, The NCAA

Brace yourself.

Here’s the kind of thinking that doesn’t surprise you in the least.

Brian Moore, a longtime executive at DonJoy, which manufactures braces, said he believed the practice of prophylactic bracing began in the early 1990s, though it did not gain traction at the highest level of college football until later that decade. The premise is that the braces are needed to protect the vulnerable joints of linemen, who are often hit on the side or the back of a knee by other players who are falling in the so-called trenches, near the line of scrimmage.

In fact, according to Moore, just about every Division I team in the country now requires its linemen to wear knee braces in practice, if not in games, even if those players have never had a knee injury.

“It’s true; the participation rate is near 100 percent,” said Brian Pietrosimone, an assistant professor of exercise and sports science at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill who has studied prophylactic bracing at length.

“But,” he added, “they’re using these things without much evidence to support that it works. In fact, the evidence is troublingly inconclusive.”

Of course, Moore, the executive from DonJoy, disagrees. In a telephone interview, he cited three studies indicating that wearing braces could help linemen avoid the most severe types of injuries. When a reporter pointed out that all three studies had been conducted more than 15 years ago, he said the research was still valid.

Pietrosimone, however, was part of a group that did a systematic review of all studies on whether knee braces prevent injury in 2008 and concluded that the issue was not so clear-cut. The methodology of the studies was flawed in many cases, the review found, and several studies even indicated that wearing braces might increase — not decrease — the risk of knee injury.

Those braces cost about $1000 a set, so it’s not hard to see why Mr. Moore might disagree with a point of view that doesn’t find them necessary.  It sounds like more research into the matter might be worthwhile.

Eh, studies, shmudies.

… Danny Poole, who is Clemson’s director of sports medicine and has been at the university for more than three decades, estimated that he began endorsing the practice 15 years ago. (Clemson also requires players to have either tape or a brace on their ankles.) Poole said he was largely indifferent to skepticism that might appear in academic journals, preferring a more direct evaluation.

“I’m not a big, huge studies guy,” Poole said. “I like to hear from the players. And the first time you hear, ‘That brace saved me today,’ you know it’s doing something.”

Yeah, who you gonna believe, your players or lying studies?  Welp, except your players ain’t all that convinced, either.

“I really don’t know if they work or not, but rules are rules,” Clemson lineman Mitch Hyatt said with a shrug. “I just wish they weren’t so irritating.”

Players’ gripes about the braces run the gamut: Many do not like having to show up to practice 10 minutes early to put them on. Some do not like how the braces feel. And just about everyone does not like their distinct odor after several months of practices and games.

Pierschbacher also took issue with the entire brace aesthetic, describing them as “robotic,” and complaining that “you don’t feel all swagged out like you should” when wearing them.

Tyrone Crowder, who plays guard for Clemson, said he had never worn braces in high school and was “not that stoked” when he arrived at the university and was told that he had to use them in practices.

“I actually don’t wear them in games because I just can’t,” he said. “When I don’t wear them, I feel like I’m flying around. When I do, it’s like my legs just get so tired.”

Shut up, kid, and suit up.


Filed under Georgia Football, The Body Is A Temple

Four fingers deep

So, I’m trying to understand what this rather strange quote from Clemson’s Ben Boulware is about.

And, um… I guess it’s this.

There are days when I’m relieved I’ve never been in the arena.


Filed under The Body Is A Temple

Today, in the difference between correlation and causation

From Seth Emerson:

Injuries: Or lack of them. The only player to suffer a season-ending injury before December was punter Marshall Long, and that was nine games in. As late as the Florida game, on Oct. 29, the Bulldogs had every single starter and every key reserve as well.

How much credit does the new S&C staff deserve for that remarkable turn of events and how much should we attribute to sheer, random luck?


Filed under Georgia Football, The Body Is A Temple

I got ‘yer meaningless right here.

The best college football Tweet of 2016 may very well have come at almost the last possible minute.

The wussification of ‘Murica continues.


Filed under The Body Is A Temple

Today, in bowl season news

This header absolutely RULES.


Filed under College Football, The Body Is A Temple

Bigger, faster, stronger — a continuing series

As someone who is occasionally bummed by college football turning its back on tradition, it’s reassuring for me to see that S&C happy talk is still on the menu in Athens.


Filed under Georgia Football, The Body Is A Temple