Tue Jan 25 05:38pm EST
At least a dozen unnamed Iowa players were simultaneously hospitalized Monday night in mysterious fashion, with the university refusing to release the players' names, condition, diagnosis or prognosis. Finally, Cedar Rapids Gazette beat writer Marc Morehouse broke the secret Tuesday evening: The Hawkeyes are suffering from an outbreak of rhabdomyolysis.
Now, because that bit of information is every bit as mysterious as the previous silence, we turn to our trusty friend, WebMD, for an informal diagnosis:
Rhabdomyolysis is a serious syndrome due to a direct or indirect muscle injury. It results from a breakdown of muscle fibers and release of their contents into the bloodstream. This can lead to complications such as kidney (renal) failure. This occurs when the kidneys cannot remove waste and concentrate urine. In rare cases, rhabdomyolysis can even cause death. However, prompt treatment often brings a good outcome.
Thankfully, it seems the players were diagnosed quickly and met with prompt treatment. They remain hospitalized but are reportedly "in safe and stable condition."
Because this is the Internet, there's no shortage of not-very-well-informed speculation on what might have landed the Hawkeyes in their precarious condition, and no shortage of possible causes to stoke the rumors – rhabdomyolysis may be caused by any of a dozen widely varying factors – but the initial assumptions will likely lean toward excessive exercise. Rhabdomyolysis is the same condition that sent 24 Oregon high school players to the hospital last August, after a "sudden increase in the intensity of their workouts" in the preseason, around the same time it reportedly afflicted Washington Redskins defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth. A freshman linebacker at Iowa, Jim Poggi, reportedly posted to Facebook that he was hospitalized after his urine turned brown, a side effect of overexertion. Iowa itself released a statement Tuesday night that said the players' symptoms are "likely related" to NCAA-approved winter workouts, one particularly grueling session of which reportedly included 100 squats followed by sled work, with the usual accompaniment.
As always, take all speculation by amateurs as just that: Speculation by amateurs. All parties are wished a fast and full recovery, and a quiet comeback from a bizarre and serious situation. Godspeed.
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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.