I learned a new word yesterday: rhabdomyolysis. Twelve unidentified Iowa football players were admitted to U of I Hospitals on Monday with condition (few of the player have been identified though neither the University or the hospital are releasing names). It is "likely" related to a particularly grueling winter workout that players went through sometime in the last week (probably January 20 based on some players' Facebook posts).

First, thankfully all the players are reported responding well to treatment. When treated early, rhabdomyolysis is usually something you can fully recover from. I imagine the 12 will miss some time and be eased back into work outs, but don't think it's career threatening.

The official statements

Statement 1:
Twelve University of Iowa football student-athletes are recovering after being admitted to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Monday evening.

A University of Iowa staff physician and football team physician confirmed Tuesday that the student-athletes were responding well to treatment.

"The student-athletes were admitted throughout the course of Monday evening," said the UIHC staff physician. "All of the individuals are responding well to treatment as of Tuesday morning. All are in safe and stable condition. At this time we are not sure when any of the individuals will be discharged. Hospital discharge will be on a case by case basis."

"Coach Kirk Ferentz is out of town recruiting, but he is aware of the situation and is being kept abreast of the progress being made," said Gary Barta, UI director of athletics. "Our No. 1 concern is the safety of our student-athletes, so we are pleased with the positive feedback. Our next step is to find out what happened so we can avoid this happening in the future."

Individual medical conditions, or identity of the student athletes, will not be released. The UI expects no further comment at this time.

Follow up:
The Hawkeye football players admitted to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics were all participating in NCAA allowable winter workouts. The symptoms, for which the student-athletes are being treated, are likely related to those workouts.

Moving ahead

This opens up some concerns about the strength and conditioning program. Gary Barta confirmed that the "next step is to find out what happened so we can avoid this happening in the future." I am very interesting to find out the results of that investigation.

The workout in question was a rigorous lower-body workout that included 100 squats. The winter workouts are very common and allowed by the NCAA. The 100 squats would probably kill me and would be difficult for anyone, but is not uncommon.

So, it begs the question, why did this happen? And, 12 players--how? Rhabdomyolysis can be linked to factors other than great exertion like diet, certain medications or supplements, certain drugs or alcohol, other illnesses, etc... My first thought is that maybe these 12 players were taking something (I'm not saying steroids or anything against the rules...a medication or some legal supplements) that when partnered with the grueling workout was too much for their body to handle. It's hard to speculate any more than that though.

It will be interesting to see if there is any sort of fallout resulting from an investigation. There had to be a breakdown somewhere for 12 players to get hospitalized. It's too early though to go around blaming anyone, so we'll have to wait and see.