Twelve football players were admitted this week to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics after suffering exertional rhabdomyolysis, an acute breakdown of muscle fibers resulting in the release of muscle fiber contents (myoglobin) into the blood stream.
The admitted players are in a safe and stable condition, according to a report in the Cedar Rapids Gazette. Serious cases of exertional rhabdomyolysis can affect the kidney's ability to clear toxins and lead to permanent kidney failure.
A UI sports information statement indicated that NCAA-approved winter workouts were likely the cause of the players' symptoms. The student-athletes recently participated in lower-body drills that included a series of 100 squats followed by sled work, a fast-paced workout that one former player described as the "worst experience in your life."
Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz is on the road recruiting and keeping abreast of the situation, according to Iowa athletic director Gary Barta. "Our number-one concern is the safety of our student-athletes, so we are pleased with the positive feedback," Barta stated in a release. "Our next step is to find out what happened so we can avoid this happening in the future."
In August, 24 football players from McMinnville (Ore.) High School were treated for what some experts believed was rhabdomyolysis.