Iowa Inquiry Blames Workout for Athletes' Hospitalization

March 24, 2011

A University of Iowa investigation has concluded that a “strenuous squat lifting workout” was the primary cause of 13 Hawkeye football players being hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis, a rare muscle disorder, in January. Findings from the investigation were presented by President Sally Mason at a Board of Regents meeting Wednesday; the report further noted that the hospitalized football players “were in no way responsible for their own injuries,” “did nothing wrong” and “did not take banned substances or engage in other risky behaviors.” The investigation also found that coaches were neither “negligent” nor “reckless” when they “planned, conducted, or supervised the strenuous workouts” that resulted in the hospitalization of the 13 players and that “unforeseen developments [occurred] without the fault of anyone involved.”

At a news conference Wednesday, Coach Kirk Ferentz said: “We have learned a little bit more about [rhabdomyolysis]. Quite frankly, I don't think anybody in this building knew much about it prior to this occurrence. We've learned a little bit more about that, but I still think there's a lot to be learned from what I know. One thing about our sports medicine department, I think they'll take this as an opportunity to learn more. The one thing we have learned, we won't do that exercise again, pretty clear at this point, until we know more.”

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