A dozen UH women soccer players sidelined with serious medical condition called 'rhabdo'

By Mario Diaz - Reporter

HOUSTON - Fortunately, the University of Houston women’s soccer team did not have a game earlier this week. If they had, a number of players would have been unable to take the field.

This, after a dozen members of the team came down with the serious medical condition rhabdomyolysis, also known as rhabdo, which is not contagious.

“Parents should be concerned, should always be concerned as to whether their son or daughter are getting an education, as to whether their son or daughter is safe when they come onto this campus and our obligation is to make sure that they are,” said Mike Rosen, the university’s executive director of media relations.

When asked if the women from the University of Houston’s soccer team were safe this week?

“All I can tell you, Mario, is that the University of Houston does everything it can to provide a safe and a healthy working environment,” Rosen said.

The school would not discuss what one player and a concerned parent told Channel 2 Investigates -- the players tested positive for a dangerous medical condition known as rhabdomyolysis, or rhabdo. The condition is a result of muscle injury and in extreme cases, it can lead to kidney failure. The players' conditions developed after a workout last week. 

“The university’s No. 1 priority is the health, safety and well being of all of our students including our student-athletes,” Rosen said.

However, a concerned parent shared a message from the UH athletic director alerting parents of three positive tests. Subsequent testing identified in at least nine more cases, according to one player who was hospitalized.

The team’s coach, Diego Bocanegra, would not talk about his players' conditions in a call with Channel 2 Investigates but did admit his strength and conditioning coach is on the outs with the program.

“As of right now, Minor Bowens does not work with the soccer team any longer,” Bocanegra said.

Channel 2 Investigates did ask for a clarification from the university, a public institution, on the coach’s employment status but Rosen said they were not “at liberty to discuss any personnel situation.”

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