More University of Houston women soccer players come forward over punishing rhabdo workout

HOUSTON – After a Channel 2 Investigates report detailed a 2018 punishment workout that sent one member of the University of Houston women’s soccer team to the hospital for nearly five days, more members of the team are now speaking with KPRC2.

Channel 2 Investigates first revealed the player was diagnosed with the potentially deadly medical condition called rhabdomyolysis, better known as rhabdo, following a late January workout.

University leadership has refused to speak with Channel 2 Investigates about these incidents.

New athletes speak

More University of Houston women soccer players are coming forward, corroborating what another player first told Channel 2 Investigates.

KPRC spoke in separate interviews with two more athletes who shared their experiences of the workout, corroborating what the first player said.

About the first player interviewed by Channel 2 Investigates

"Everything she said happened.” – Player 1

"I think it is important that everyone knows the girl who came up here and said the truth was telling the truth.” – Player 2

What the workouts were like

"There were girls crying." – Player 1

“Standing off to the side watching." – Player 1, when asked “Where were the coaches?”

"I can't do this anymore. I'm tired.” – Player 1 on how she felt after the workout

On fairness and the university’s reaction

"We didn't get the food that the football players got." – Player 1

"I think that it is cowardly of them to not want to speak and take responsibility." – Player 2

“It would have been swept under the rug, it would have been acted like it never had happened.” –  Player 1, when asked what would have happened if Channel 2 Investigates hadn't reported this story.

"She (UH President Renu Khator) should have taken action besides just forwarding the email." – Player 1

"We choose to keep our identities hidden because we fear what other people will say about us for speaking the truth." – Player 2

What our reporting has done

Our reporting has uncovered that head coach Diego Bocanegra admitted that his program relied on “physical punishment” in an email provided to Channel 2 Investigates by the university, and how Senior Associate Athletic Director Dejuena Chizer raised no red flags, signing off on Bocanegra’s email from last November by writing, "Diego, This is good. Thanks."

Additionally, our investigation into the punishment workout in 2018 launched an internal review by the university. On Thursday, board of regents Chair Tilman Fertitta confirmed that the University of Houston Police Department is investigating. Its findings will be reported to the Harris County District Attorney's Office.

Here is some of our reporting on this:

Email shows UH officials knew about punishment session in January

UH women’s soccer players were forced to ensure punishment workout that led to rhabdo

How students and alumnus are reacting to UH rhabdo situation

Review ordered at University of Houston after KPRC 2 report sheds light on rhabdo allegations