Post-rhabdo hospitalization, Prater is ready to go


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People keep asking Shaun Prater the same question.

What did he and 12 other Iowa football players do differently to wind up in the hospital with rhabdomyolysis in January?

He still doesn’t have an answer.

Seemingly like everyone else in the wake of one of the most bizarre college football stories in recent memory, the senior cornerback struggles to pinpoint a common denominator among him and the other players who were hospitalized for the muscle condition.

“Honestly, I think possibly we all just took [the workout] too far. Maybe we had too much weight. I’m not really sure what it was,” Prater told The Daily Iowan Wednesday about the Jan. 20 squat-lifting workout that led afflicted players to experience such symptoms as severe muscle soreness and discolored urine.

Prater said the Hawkeyes’ competitiveness probably played a role, citing himself as an example. The previous Iowa record for the workout — which saw players perform 100 squat lifts of half their maximum weight as quickly as possible — stood at eight minutes.

He was simply trying to match that.

“Everyone listening to this story from the outside in, it sounds like a big deal. Thirteen players in the hospital from a serious workout, seems like the strength coach tried to kill the players,” Prater said. “It wasn’t anything like that.”

Speculation consistent with that sort of theory ran rampant soon after the hospitalizations.

Members of the national media — including ESPN.com’s Pat Forde and CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd, in particular — lambasted the Iowa football program.

On March 23, head coach Kirk Ferentz categorized that criticism as “shots from left field” in the sense that detractors weren’t familiar with the team’s staff or players.

Senior tight end Brad Herman called the backlash unfortunate.

“End of the season, you’re going to face obstacles, and this off-season we faced one,” he said. “I thought we did a good job as a team really overcoming those pressures that the media put on you, all the speculation that was going on. We’re happy that it’s over with, and we’re excited that we can finally get into spring ball.”

As of now, 12 of the 13 players who were hospitalized — except for linebacker Shane DiBona, who is still recovering from surgery for a shoulder injury — are participating in spring practice, which began on March 23.

Following the incident, Prater said he fully trusts Iowa’s strength and conditioning staff. He hasn’t hesitated in the weight room. Though he said he felt sluggish during the team’s first spring practice after missing workouts, he now feels “normal.”

If anything, Prater may now be even more motivated. He sat out workouts for around 50 days.

“I was hungry,” he said. “I was just sitting around watching TV. Being a normal student. It just felt weird — just going to class and coming back home, eating and not working out, having plenty of rest. It made me hungry to be back in spring ball and get back with my teammates.”

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