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University of Houston Women’s Soccer Coach Accused of Player Abuse


Diego Bocanegra, the women’s soccer coach at the University of Houston, has been accused of player abuse in the form of torturous workouts and physical punishment, according to a report from Houston Channel 2. One player revealed the grueling details but asked to remain anonymous.

The Channel 2 report claims that one dozen members of the Cougars women’s soccer program were diagnosed with dangerous medical condition rhabdomyolysis or rhabdo.

According to WebMD, rhabdo is “a serious syndrome due to a direct or indirect muscle injury. It results from the death of muscle fibers and release of their contents into the bloodstream. This can lead to serious complications such as renal (kidney) failure. This means the kidneys cannot remove waste and concentrated urine.”

So what exactly happened during the workouts in question?

From the report:

The grueling workout included up-downs, planks and shuttle runs, according to the player, who said many on the team were having difficulty understanding what was going on. “I was just so mad and confused because, of course, I was going to keep going ’cause I’m scared, but I’m looking at everyone else and people were crying, barely pushing themselves off the ground.”

Bocanegra had previously admitted to relying on “physical punishment” with his team in an email that was signed off on by Senior Associate Athletic Director Dejuena Chizer.

In the meantime, the University of Houston and athletic director Chris Pezman are remaining silent.

“We have chosen not to make Mr. Pezman or anyone else available for an interview in which we believe the line of questioning will be at best prosecutorial in nature for a ‘gotcha’ news story that we further believe will lack appropriate balance and context.”

You can read a full breakdown of the allegations against Bocanegra and first-hand accounts from the players who participated in the workouts by checking out the full Houston Channel 2 report.

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