Sunday, January 30, 2011
All 13 Iowa players released from hospital
By Adam Rittenberg
Great news out of Iowa City on Sunday night, as officials announced that all 13 football players stricken with rhabdomyolysis have been released from the hospital.
Coach Kirk Ferentz announced Friday that five players were being released. Six more were discharged Saturday and the final two on Sunday. The university last week announced an investigation into what led to the series of hospitalizations.
Here's Ferentz's statement issued Sunday:
"Getting all 13 student-athletes healthy and out of the hospital has been priority number one all along, so I'm very happy that they all are now back home and resuming their lives. These young men and their families have been through a difficult and trying time. They are under my supervision and watch, and I am truly sorry for what they've experienced. They trained extremely hard and ended up in the hospital, and there is no indication they did anything wrong. So I'm pleased they are progressing well and I look forward to seeing all of them being back to normal.
"Now that these students are out of the hospital and on the road to recovery, we can devote our full attention to determining what happened, and making sure it does not happen again. There has been a lot of speculation by those who don't have the facts and it is unfair and inappropriate for anyone to make wild guesses about what happened."
Athletic director Gary Barta echoed Ferentz about getting to the bottom of what happened and also cautioned against rushing to judgment.
"We now can focus exclusively on discovering the root cause of this situation, and I'm anxious to work with president [Sally] Mason's group to this end," Barta's statement reads. "We will review every aspect of the workouts and talk with everyone involved. The staff and coaches who work with these young men are highly respected professionals who are dedicated and care deeply about our student-athletes. I hope those who follow our program will respect this process moving forward and refrain from any further unproductive rush to judgment."
It's good to hear Ferentz absolving the players in his statement, while it's noteworthy what Barta says about the strength and conditioning staff who oversaw the training sessions.
The big questions trace back to the series of workouts that began Jan. 20. Was the intensity and the structure of these sessions standard for the start of winter training, or were things cranked up to an excessive level? Only the strength coaches and the players know the answer.
Make no mistake: Strength coach Chris Doyle and his staff have been integral to Iowa's success in Ferentz's tenure. They have a proven conditioning program that works masterfully. Their investment in the players and their care for the players shouldn't be questioned. So what changed this time around? Could anything have been done along the way to prevent the hospitalizations? Did the way Iowa lost games in 2010 -- blowing fourth-quarter leads -- contribute to players being pushed too far?
Every aspect of what took place between Jan. 20-24 must be closely examined.