University of Iowa officials says at total of 13 football players were admitted to the hospital after suffering severe soreness in their muscles following workouts. Doctor John Stokes from the University of Iowa Hospitals talked about their condition.
Stokes says the players are believe to be suffering from what is called rhabdomyolysis, which is a muscle injury syndrome and he says the causes are extensive. All of the players are responding well to treatment.
Stokes says the workouts are likely what caused the problem in the players. He says heavy exercise, even in healthy individuals can cause the problem. Stokes says there are well documented cases of the problem developing among recruits in military boot camp that are undergoing heavy workouts.
The director of football operations, Paul Federici says the players involved are a variety of ages, but they are not releasing all their names because of disclosure laws. He says the workouts are something the football program has done every year, and this situation is an “anomaly.”
“In terms of…what has would have been the factors and what led to this, we’re still working through that, we don’t have those details yet,” Federici said, “as the treatment continues to occur and more information is made available, we hope to get to the point where we know more…and it will help us understand what has put these young men in this position.”
Dr. Stokes says the condition can get bad enough that it could damage someone’s kidneys and that might require the need for dialysis. But, he says that is not likely the case with the players. Stokes says in young, healthy and otherwise normal individuals, recovery is usually pretty quick and dialysis is seldom necessary. Stokes says the problems are treated with intravenous fluids and rest.
Federici says they have not had this problem before and the workouts are the same as they have done in the past. He says they are looking for any information as to how this happened, and he says with 13 people, they are trying to get all the information from the doctors and hopefully will find something that helps them understand it.
The father of one of the players, Biff Poggi, volunteered to talk with reporters about the situation. Poggi says his son Jim had soreness in his legs following the first workout last week. Poggi says they did a heavy squat workout Thursday with multiple repetitions that was timed and used a certain amount of their maximum lifting weight. They also did a power sled push.
He says his son Jim, who was a freshman on this year’s team, had a lot of soreness after that workout. They did an upper body workout on Friday and had a couple of days off before another workout Monday. His son did not feel well after the Monday workout and that is when he and the others went to the hospital.
Poggi is from Maryland and is a high school football coach who says the workouts are not anything unusual. Poggi says this is the time of year when a football player does their most strenuous work as they prepare for spring and he says he has sent his players all over the country and the workouts are similar everywhere.
Poggi says the treatment of the players has been excellent and they are anxious to get out of the hospital. He says the players have about had it walking around in the hospital gowns, and Poggi says the players want to get out of the hospital and get back to training. He says the players are concerned that this is the time of year that this has happened. It is not known when the players will get out of the hospital.
Dr. Stokes says the treatment time varies between individuals and can be from a few days to one week. He says one episode of this problem should not prevent any of the players from returning to workouts and continuing to play football.
Listen to the entire press conference here: U-I football 42:13 MP3