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Concordia University basketball players hospitalized after 'high-intensity' workout

Concordia University basketball players hospitalized after 'high-intensity' workout
Concordia University basketball players hospitalized after 'high-intensity' workout 02:30

RIVER FOREST, Ill. (CBS) – Five Concordia University Chicago basketball players were hospitalized and their head coach was benched.

The west suburban college, and its conference, are investigating, and so was reporter Sara Machi.

The school has already missed one game this week and they're postponing another after several teammates were hospitalized. This may all stem from a particularly tough workout that some believe was punishment for missing curfew after a loss at a game in California.

The last time the Concordia men's basketball team took to the hardwood was Dec. 29, the Cougars' second of back-to-back games in Los Angeles.

The team missed its last game, this past Tuesday against Wisconsin's Lakeland College. The reason: players were sick.

On Thursday, the school told parents and players in an email "five student-athletes were admitted to the hospital between Jan. 2 and Jan. 4" and "one remains hospitalized."

Concordia acknowledged "amid the already stressful and exhausting week, Saturday's practice represented a particularly high-intensity, collegiate-level circuit training."

CBS 2 was told by someone familiar with what happened that players were suffering from conditions like lactic acidosis and rhabdomyolysis, the latter of which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said can be caused by physical exertion.

"Usually you see this sort of stuff in the marathon runners, the soccer players, sort of the endurance athletes," said Dr. Christopher Hicks of Northwestern Medicine.

'High-intensity' Concordia basketball practice under investigation after players hospitalized 02:47

Hicks, a former University of Illinois basketball player, now specializes in sports medicine and said it's rare to see so many college athletes hospitalized at once.

Pointing to a reason for the intense workout, Concordia's athletic director wrote, "It has been alleged by some that the intensity and difficulty of Saturday's practice was a direct consequence of the broken curfew earlier in the week."

CBS 2 went to the home of head coach Steve Kollar when the allegations surfaced, though he told us he didn't have any comment.

The conference Concordia plays in, the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference, or NACC, said it is "aware of the situation" and "waiting on the results of an internal investigation."

The NCAA declined to comment.

"Good coaches know who to push, who not to push," Hicks said. "The athletic trainer probably becomes the most important person at that time."

Concordia's athletic director said they haven't decided yet if this practice was related to a violation of team rules regarding curfew, but they have a zero-tolerance policy for harassment and retaliation.

On Friday, CBS 2 learned Concordia has postponed its game for Saturday. Assistant coach Rashaan Surles was named acting head coach.

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