13 Iowa players have muscle malady after workouts

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa said Wednesday that 13 football players had to be hospitalized this week with a muscle disorder following grueling offseason workouts that left them with extreme soreness and discolored urine.

The players have rhabdomyolysis, a stress-induced syndrome that can damage cells and cause kidney damage and even failure in severe cases, school spokesman Tom Moore said at a news conference two days after players were hospitalized at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City.

School officials said the players, whom they would not identify, were in stable condition and responding well to treatment, which includes bed rest and the administration of hydrating fluids. Moore said he did not know when the players would be discharged.

Director of football operations Paul Federici said the players participated in workouts that started last Thursday after they returned from winter break. Some of them complained to medical staff after a workout on Monday and symptoms included soreness throughout the body and tea-colored urine, and other players were told they should receive treatment if they had similar problems, he said.

A former athletic trainer, Federici said he's never seen the syndrome among student-athletes at Iowa before. He said he was still looking into the details of the workouts but said they were no different than those from previous years during what he called a critical seven-week stretch of training.

"It is strenuous. It is ambitious. The student athletes know that," he said. "This is an anomaly. We just haven't seen this type of response before."

He said the players range from freshmen to upperclassmen and include a range of positions.

One of those hospitalized is freshman linebacker Jim Poggi of Towson, Md., whose father, Biff Poggi, said his son complained to trainers on Monday after several days of soreness. He said his son's pain started last Thursday with a lower-body workout that involved performing 100 squats in a certain amount of time and pulling a sled 100 yards. It got worse Friday after an upper-body workout, and Monday's workout "didn't go well." His urine was discolored, and the team's medical staff sent him for treatment.

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