Neurologist suggests Iowa football players took ADHD drugs


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A California neurologist suggested Wednesday that ADHD drugs were the “critical variable” in the hospitalizations of 13 Iowa football players with rhabdomyolysis two weeks ago.

Fred Baughman Jr, a neurologist, said in a release the use of such amphetamines would be more likely to lead to rhabdomyolysis than the use of statins, which are drugs primarily used to lower cholesterol. Amphetamines prescribed for ADHD include Ritalin, Adderall, and Concerta.

Baughman said amphetamines have “long been known to cause rhabdomyolysis — with or without exercise.”

Rhabdomyolysis is a muscle syndrome in which muscle fibers are released into the blood stream and can cause kidney damage. Players were admitted when they experienced symptoms such as extreme soreness and discolored urine after participating in NCAA-permitted off-season workouts.

Workouts included players completing 100 squats of half their maximum weight as quickly as possible. All 13 have since been released.

Baughman cited a March 2009 statement from the NCAA that read; “In recent years, the number of student-athletes testing positive for these stimulant medications has increased three-fold, and in many cases, there has been inadequate documentation submitted in support of the request for a medical exception (ie: ADHD) to the NCAA banned-drug policy.”

He also said Iowa’s recent episode with rhabdomyolysis signals a “public-health crisis.”

“The players themselves surrendered no First Amendment rights in joining the IU [sic] football team and should be free to share details of their cases with no threat of retribution,” Baughman wrote. “A complete record of all drugs the 13 were on, legal and illegal, should be made public today.”

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