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National group: UI’s rhabdo analysis correct

BY ARIANA WITT | MARCH 30, 2011 7:20 AM

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Officials for a national athletics organization said Tuesday they agreed with a University of Iowa committee’s recommendation to discontinue the workout believed to have lead to the January hospitalization of 13 Iowa football players diagnosed with a muscle condition.

“The Iowa incident should serve as an important reminder to all strength coaches that they should not only be educated about rhabdomyolysis, its causes and its symptoms, but also on how to appropriately manipulate training program variables that reduce the risk for these unwarranted outcomes,” Jay Hoffman, the board president of the National Strength and Conditioning Assocation, said in a press release.

The presidental committee to investigate the root cause of the hopitalization concluded performing 100 squats during a January practice caused the athletes to develop rhabdomyolysis, a condition that breaks down muscle tissues rapidly and effects the kidneys.

The committee agreed the workout was strenuous — particularly after a two-week break in training — and found no fault among Hawkeye coaches, trainers, or the team physician.

Hoffman said the squat workout is not common and has “no scientific basis to be used to train college athletes.”

Suspicion that the workout had led to the illness surfaced immediately after the players were hospitalized.

“Even though it was used without incident previously, we suspended the workout based on that,” UI spokesman Tom Moore said.

The seven-person committee reported to the state Board of Regents March 23 that its report was likely the most comprehensive study on the condition and should serve as a national wake-up call among all athletics programs.

“[The Hawkeye incident] points to the need for all strength coaches to stay within the NSCA-recommended standards and guidelines when training athletes,” director of Coaching Performance for the Association Boyd Epley said in a press release.

Epley said coaches should be sure athletes are prepared to recieve the intense workouts before performing them.

But former Hawkeyes offensive lineman Julian Vandervelde said he supported the use of the squat workout, having gone through it himself.

“I’m not surprised to hear about the agreement,” Vandervelde said of the Association’s statements. “Anytime this sort of thing happens the national organization is going to err on the side of caution.”

Regent Robert Downer said he thinks the national organizations agreement strengthens the UI’s findings, as its expertise is the best judge in the situation.

“I think a lot has been learned and will be learned from this process,” he said.


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