The 12 Iowa football players hospitalized Monday night are reportedly being treated for exertional rhabdomyolysis, a condition often caused by extreme exercise that, in serious cases, can cause damage to the kidneys.
Iowa sent out a news release Tuesday night stating that the players are being treated for symptoms likely related to winter workouts. The workouts are permitted under NCAA rules.
The good news is players received treatment early in the process, and they should all be fine.
The exact details of the workout that might have caused this are unclear. Iowa players did recently participate in lower-body drills that included a series of 100 squats followed by sled work. It's a workout the Iowa program has used in the past, according to sources.
Exertional rhabdomyolysis is the breakdown of muscle fibers that results in the release of fiber contents (myoglobin) into the bloodstream. Muscle soreness and urine turning brown are common symptoms. Iowa linebacker Jim Poggi wrote on his Facebook page Tuesday that he had been hospitalized after his urine turned brown.
You can learn more about the condition here and here. There was a similar outbreak last summer with a high school football team in Oregon. The situation in Oregon occurred during an uptick in the team's training regimen, which could also be the case with the Iowa players.
The syndrome, rhabdomyolysis, often occurs when athletes who have not been training have a sudden increase in the intensity of their workouts, like a return to practice after a summer break, said Dr. Rupert P. Galvez, a sports medicine doctor who wrote a 2008 article about the syndrome.
"It may tend to happen more toward the beginning of the season, as they’re starting up their preconditioning training," Galvez said.
The identities of the hospitalized players remain unknown, and we don't know when they'll be released from the hospital. Iowa athletic director Gary Barta says the school will investigate the situation, and it will be interesting to see what is found about these workouts.