We finally got an answer to the mystery of the Iowa Hawkeye football players who were hospitalized on Monday. The Iowa City Gazette reports that they are being treated for “Exertional Rhabdomyolysis”, which is “an acute breakdown of muscle fibres resulting in the release of muscle fibre contents (myoglobin) into the bloodstream.”In other words, they nearly worked out to death.
The players’ identities have not been released, but they are in stable condition and all responding to treatment.
It’s not known exactly what the players were doing during the voluntary winter workout that led to the breakdown, but one example given of a common Hawkeye drill is a series of 100 squats followed by sled work. One former player has described it as the “worst experience in your life.”
According to Wikipedia, rhabdomyolysis is often suffered by people who have experienced traumatic muscle injuries like car accidents or being crushed in an earthquake. However, it can be caused by extreme exercise combined with poor hydration. In the most serious cases, it can lead to kidney failure.
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