13 Iowa football players hospitalized after workout
January 27th, 2011
03:53 PM ET

13 Iowa football players hospitalized after workout

Thirteen University of Iowa  football players were hospitalized after a strenuous workout this week.

They were found to have  rhabdomyolosis, several days after taking part in an off-season workout, according to CNN affiliate KWWL.

When a muscle ruptures, it releases its cellular content, including particles called myoglobin, into the body. These particles get caught in the kidneys and can block the organ's functions and in worst cases, cause death.It’s often seen in crush injuries - it was a common killer of earthquake survivors in Haiti in 2010.  Rhabdomyolosis has been known to occur after difficult workouts especially in boot camps.

More on rhabdomyolosis

Dr. John Stokes, a specialist in internal medicine at the University of Iowa (pictured above) said in a Wednesday press conference the players were responding well to treatments. Treatment includes intravenous fluids, close monitoring of blood, electrolytes and muscle waste products.

Stokes also said that it’s too early to determine the cause and that it was uncommon to have 13 players come down with the condition.

“It does appear to be a little unusual, but apparently the common denominator for each of these individuals had to do with the fact that they were undergoing a workout, a heavy exercise program, and heavy exercise is known to produce this syndrome,” he said.

One of the football players had told his father over the phone that he felt tremendous soreness after working out on the team’s first off-season workout on January 20 and 21, reported the Daily Iowan.

Those workouts included heavy squats and maximum weight lifting, according to the student newspaper.

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soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Hans

    Now THAT gud wurkout! *flex*

    January 27, 2011 at 16:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Yes

      I pick things up and put them down.

      January 27, 2011 at 19:40 | Report abuse |
  2. Lincoln Brigham

    Before anyone flies off the handle with "they must have been taking performance enhancing drugs" ....
    Steroids are in no way associated with rhabdo. Methamphetamines, yes, chronic alcoholism, yes, steroids no.

    January 27, 2011 at 16:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • John P.

      But steroids do increase your resistance to fatigue and therefore allow you to workout harder than normally would. It's odd that this happened to 13 players. One or two I could see, but 13...

      January 27, 2011 at 17:14 | Report abuse |
    • The_Mick

      I agree it's too many at once to be a coincidence. I played sports and coached high school sports from the 80s to 2002 including weight training. 13 at once with an unusual syndrome due simply to a too-hard workout? Not likely.

      January 28, 2011 at 00:01 | Report abuse |
    • John K

      These players did 100 squats with 240lbs of weights on their shoulders, then did sled work afterwards. I can see how just that alone could cause muscle injury severe enough to cause rhabdo.

      January 28, 2011 at 09:27 | Report abuse |
    • baman

      Many male whitetail bucks die during the rut because they overexert themselves fighting other male deer. Their muscles break down, resulting in a massive release of waste into the bloodstream leading to kidney failure.

      January 28, 2011 at 10:20 | Report abuse |
    • bbech

      It's caused by not staying hydrated durring workouts. Their body's weren't getting enough water. However, why were they not getting enough water? Were they not drinking, or were they on something that also causes dehydration?

      January 28, 2011 at 11:27 | Report abuse |
  3. jackal&jester

    Rest is just as important as the workout. Perhaps they were just overdoing it.

    January 27, 2011 at 16:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Frans

    Hans u dum and use girly weight

    January 27, 2011 at 17:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nice!

      Ha! Well played

      January 27, 2011 at 17:11 | Report abuse |
  5. squirt

    ROIDS, grrrrr~ now they will grow boobs next and talk like women, or is it women talk like men. football is dumb.

    January 27, 2011 at 17:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Denizen Kate

    Could be a result of pressure from the coach, or more likely from each other. You know, "I can bench press more than you" and that sort of di@k waving. Definitely not normal for that many guys to be hospitalized due to a workout.

    January 27, 2011 at 17:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. jbrian

    Crossfit inspires yet another workout! High reps for time anyone?

    January 27, 2011 at 17:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • John K

      These freshman were doing 100 squats with 240lbs on their shoulders, and racing each other while doing it. One of the fastest claimed he did his 100 squats in 17 minutes. Definitely sounds crossfit inspired to me.

      January 28, 2011 at 09:31 | Report abuse |
    • Rhabdo...

      @ John K...I agree with the CrossFit "inspired" and I am a CrossFit trainer and rugby player. But a workout like the one mentioned would be difficult for the top 5% of Advanced CrossFit athletes whose body's are trained to take such abuse. Professional athlete's have a higher chance of getting Rhabdo simply because they are strong and can complete the workouts quickly, but their bodies just aren't used to that level of fatigue and can't handle it. Most average Joes would not make it half way through the workout thus avoiding major injury. If they were freshmen and simply not used to this type of workout then yes, its possible for them all to become sick. With CrossFit you must be able to judge your limits and ramp up slowly...I'm guessing their coaches hadn't taken any certification courses, if CrossFit is what truly inspired them. Would be nice if Football players were more than strong and fast and not winded and sweating to death after 5 minutes...I think I may try this workout today(the sled is going to suck).

      January 31, 2011 at 07:22 | Report abuse |
  8. Rich

    It's obvious the Iowa coaches and trainers lack knowledge in human physiology and basic workout techniques. It's common sense stuff. Don't lift max weight the first day you begin training. And if you're dumb enough to do that (or make your players do that), don't have them work out hard the very next day. Their atrophied muscles need time to build up to strenous one-rep-max heavy lifting days, as well as recovery time afterward.

    What horrible coaches and trainers. Their blatant lack of physiological and athletic knowledge is astounding. Good job Iowa.

    January 27, 2011 at 18:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • waynebob

      I think you're right. These guys did way too much after a long period of no workouts.

      January 29, 2011 at 11:30 | Report abuse |
  9. no one

    A player said they squated 250lbs 100times within a time limit

    January 27, 2011 at 19:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DYBO


      January 27, 2011 at 19:42 | Report abuse |
    • JOCOS

      Blogs in IA also say the same thing...squats while holding the weights, I heard it was over 100lbs....crazy..

      January 27, 2011 at 22:15 | Report abuse |
  10. eduardz

    Perhaps their blood was so thick with manliness that it stopped up their kidneys.

    January 27, 2011 at 19:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Timeout

    My son is a division 1 college football player and they began their work out routines for spring football in December and were given specific workouts to be followed throughout the holiday season. The routines were progressive, no massive weights or reps were in the workouts. Whether you want to blame the players or the trainers–clearly the program needs significant changes. It doesn't matter the college sport, common sense and trainers monitoring the workouts are necessary.

    January 27, 2011 at 20:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Cryssie

    I had this syndrome last year fro, excessive exercise. NOT fun ! hospitalized for four days.

    January 27, 2011 at 21:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. fratboy

    Maybe what they did after the workouts had somdthing to do with the condition too?

    January 27, 2011 at 22:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. quilter

    Same thing happened in the Pacific Northwest at a high school there last fall. 13-19 students. Some had to have surgery.

    January 27, 2011 at 22:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Confused

    Too much Creatine.

    January 28, 2011 at 09:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. baman

    Many male whitetail bucks die during the rut because they overexert themselves fighting other male deer. Their muscles break down, resulting in a massive release of waste into the bloodstream leading to kidney failure. This is probably exactly what happened – only the Iowa players had access to medical care.

    January 28, 2011 at 10:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Jester of the Apocalypse

    No, yer mom.

    January 28, 2011 at 10:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. stephan

    wow ! I pray full recovery for all of them and hope that they will have lighter training at these colleges , im out done !

    January 29, 2011 at 00:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. FusionZeus

    I just began using Fusion Zeus and I already noticed a difference while working out. Absolutely got more intensity and able to propel it further in my workouts.

    February 24, 2011 at 03:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Football 606

    nice post mate , lets hope all goes well this season for us

    July 21, 2011 at 11:06 | Report abuse | Reply

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