Tag:Iowa Rhabdomyolysis
Posted on: January 30, 2011 7:40 pm
 

All 13 Iowa players released from hospital

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Good news on Friday got better today as the University of Iowa confirmed in a statement that all 13 players hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis have been released from the U of I Hospital.

Hawkeye head coach Kirk Ferentz, under fire for his public handling of the situation, apologized for the incident:
“Getting all 13 student-athletes healthy and out of the hospital has been priority number one all along, so I’m very happy that they all are now back home and resuming their lives" ...

“These young men and their families have been through a difficult and trying time. They are under my supervision and watch, and I am truly sorry for what they’ve experienced. They trained extremely hard and ended up in the hospital, and there is no indication they did anything wrong. So I’m pleased they are progressing well and I look forward to seeing all of them being back to normal.”

Ferentz also took the opportunity to criticize the swirling rumor mill regarding the cause of the rhabomyolysis outbreak, calling the speculation "unfair and inappropriate." Athletic director Gary Barta, in his first public statement since the outbreak, asked that fans "refrain from any further unproductive rush to judgment."

Until an investigation determines the official cause of the outbreak, some level of speculation will inevitably continue. But with all 13 players well on their way to recovery and no longer needing hospital care, tonight that major positive is far outweighing that increasingly minor negative.

Posted on: January 28, 2011 6:10 pm
 

5 Iowa players released from hospital

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

In what might be the first bit of good news for Iowa since the rhabdomyolysis story broke, a statement released by Kirk Ferentz announced this afternoon that five of the 13 hospitalized Hawkeyes will be going home from the University of Iowa Hospital today. Ferentz's statement continues:

"I have been communicating with each student-athlete and their parents, or guardians, since learning they were admitted into the hospital. Members of the football staff have also been communicating daily with this group. This communication will continue until each student-athlete is able to resume their academic and athletic commitments.

"As the parent of both a current and former member of the team, the health and well-being of each student-athlete in our football program is paramount. "I will work with all of the individuals and groups that contribute to the welfare of our student-athletes to understand what led to this occurrence in order to make certain it does not happen again."

Ferentz no doubt must make good on that last promise to retain any good will amongst the Hawkeye parents, who have reportedly been less than charitable with regards to Ferentz's absence during the incident and Wednesday press conference. It won't help the atmosphere of confusion and potential distrust that it was also announced today that the hospital will be investigating the potential "accessing" of the player's private health records by individuals without proper medical clearance.

Despite those issues and the whole of the ugly black eye Iowa will sport after this incident, the release of the five players and the expected return to good health of the other eight indicate that the media storm may be beginning to clear. Barring legal action on the part of any of the players or families, the worst appears to be over for Ferentz and the Hawkeyes.


Posted on: January 27, 2011 8:08 pm
 

Hospitalized Hawkeyes all pass drug tests

Posted by Tom Fornelli

While the rhabdomyolysis that thirteen Iowa Hawkeyes are currently hospitalized is commonly caused by extreme physical exertion, drug use can lead to the condition as well. Drugs like cocaine and amphetamines can bring on the kidney ailment, which is why the doctors at the Iowa Hospitals and Clinics felt it prudent to test each of the thirteen players for drug use.

According to a report by The Sporting News, all those tests have come back negative. Though just because the players all tested clean for illegal drugs, that does not rule out that supplements may have played a part in all of this. Either way, considering the problems that have occurred at Iowa involving football players and drugs in recent months, at least this is one less thing for the school to worry about.

One thing that Iowa, specifically head coach Kirk Ferentz, should worry about are the parents of the players in the hospital. According to the report, when Ferentz returned to Iowa City on Wednesday night, he met with the players' parents before meeting with the players, and those parents gave him an earful. Seems they didn't appreciate Ferentz taking so long to return from a recruiting trip after finding out about his players and their children.

“Kirk took a lot of (stuff),” a source told The Sporting News. “But he stood there and took it all. He’s been incredibly remorseful about the whole thing.”

Ferentz was expected to meet with his players again on Thursday night, as all thirteen are expected to spend at least one more night in the hospital.
Posted on: January 27, 2011 3:10 pm
 

Iowa to launch investigation into hospitalization

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It hasn't been the greatest week for the Iowa football program following the hospitalization of 13 members of the football team, and the ensuing press conference. The players were all hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis following strenuous workouts last week, and now the school wants to find out what happened to cause such a mass outbreak of the unusual muscle disorder.

Which is why the school's Board of Regents announced on Thursday that they're ordering an investigation of the situation.
Board of Regents President David Miles and school President Sally Mason call the case "a cause for grave concern."
They agreed the university will have 90 days to complete an investigation analyzing events and the results will be presented to the Board of Regents. The review will involve independent experts.
Hopefully the investigation will yield more answers than Wednesday's press conference did. As Adam Jacobi already went over on the blog, yesterday's press conference was not exactly the most enlightening hour. The only information that came out that seemed helpful, other than finding out that the players will be hospitalized a few more days and are recovering, came from one of the player's fathers, Biff Poggi. It also opened up head coach Kirk Ferentz and AD Gary Barta to a lot of criticism since neither were in town for the press conference, with Ferentz recruiting in Ohio and Barta golfing.
Posted on: January 27, 2011 12:31 pm
 

Ferentz, Iowa AD locations revealed

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Yesterday Iowa hosted a press conference regarding the mysterious hospitalization of 13 of its players that virtually every observer, this blog included, regarded as a "near-total disaster ." The major complaint: despite the grave importance of the issue and the need to present the most united front possible, neither head coach Kirk Ferentz nor athletic director Gary Barta were present at the press conference. In fact, no Iowa football coaches were present at all.

So putting aside the issue of why strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle wasn't present to address the workouts that had led to the hospitalizations, where were Ferentz and Barta in the program's hour of need? Columnist Mike Hlas of the Iowa City Gazette has your answers:
Barta was out of town on Wednesday. He will be in the Fort Myers-Naples, Fla. area through at least Friday. An annual University of Iowa Athletic Association fundraising golf event is in Naples on Friday ...

“He made the best decision he could make based on what he needs to do,” said Iowa senior associate athletic director Jane Meyer , who didn’t flinch from taking questions herself after the press conference ...

Ferentz, meanwhile, was in Cleveland to reportedly meet with Glenville High School Coach Ted Ginn about possible future recruits. The night before, he was in Strongsville, Ohio, to visit with a high school tight end who has verbally committed to the Hawkeyes.

Hlas correctly points out that even if Ferentz and Barta were present at the press conference, the notoriously media-unfriendly duo wouldn't have yielded much more information, if any, than was revealed anyway.

But regardless, their entirely-avoidable absence sends the message -- as inaccurate as it certainly is -- that they don't view the hospitalization of 13 (13! ) of their players as an issue that's really all that important. Ferentz and Barta appear to believe, even if they don't, that a serious health issue that took place within their team on their watch isn't worth their time. As Hlas writes:

They’re the two main men of Hawkeye sports, the leader of the athletic department and the boss of all things football. Unless they have their own family crises, when 13 of their athletes are in a hospital, they have to be the faces and voices that are out front.

How much damage their absence will really do -- how much damage the gushing torrent of bad press can actually cause -- is highly debatable. But there's no question that their unwillingness to confront the issue in person has done nothing to make an already ugly situation for the Hawkeye program any better.


Posted on: January 26, 2011 8:03 pm
 

Iowa news conference a near-total disaster

Posted by Adam Jacobi

In the wake of the outbreak of rhabdomyolysis that sent now 13 Iowa players to the hospital (another was admitted today), fans have understandably been looking for more answers from the university than just "'safe and stable' with an undisclosed illness." To that end, the university athletic department held a press conference late this afternoon to address the situation.

Except, head coach Kirk Ferentz wasn't there; he was still getting back into town from his recruiting trip. And athletic director Gary Barta wasn't there; he presumably had better things to do. No Iowa football coaches were there at all, including strength and condiitioning coach Chris Doyle or any of his asistants. In fact, the only three people at the press conference were director of football operations Paul Federici, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics kidney specialist John Stokes, and freshman linebacker Jim Poggi's father, Biff Poggi.

What ensued, at least for the first part of the the conference, was another exercise in stonewalling and excessive privacy from Iowa. While we can't expect Stokes or Federici to address the players' identities and conditions -- that would be a direct violation of not only the trust of players and their families, but federal HIPPA laws about patient privacy as well -- we can certainly expect more than Federici's abject refusal to admit any knowledge of any particulars about the offseason workouts other than what days they took place. Again, he's the director of football operations at Iowa. Does Federici -- who was a former head of training at Iowa before moving into his administrative role -- seriously have no personal knowledge of what happens during these offseason workouts? Is that even remotely acceptable? 

In fact, Biff Poggi went into more detail about the workouts and the conditions of the players than both Stokes and Federici ever did, as the latter two hid behind lack of personal knowledge and an unusually broad interpretation of the HIPPA laws. Obviously, when Jim Poggi started posting (since-deleted) details of his hospitalization on Facebook, that expectation of privacy went out the window and Biff Poggi was allowed to address his son's condition. Poggi also addressed the prevailing mood of the hospitalized players, saying "they want to get back and start playing."

While it's obviously disconcerting that neither Barta nor Ferentz were at the press conference, it's also naive to believe that either would have said, well, anything substantial or above what Federici would have said -- namely, that the workouts happened on specific days and that they were within NCAA regulations. Anyone who believes otherwise has a very short memory, considering the dearth of specifics that came from the last press conference Iowa held. That was just last month, as Derrell Johnson-Koulianos had been arrested the week prior and rumors had been flying about potential drug use on the team. That day, it was 60% an overview of Iowa's drug testing, 35% of hectoring the Internet, and 5% of new information; the ratio would likely have been similar today.

It's like this far too often at Iowa. Whenever something bad happens, communication from the athletic department is so insufficient that it creates a vacuum of information, and speculation from outside sources fills that vacuum every single time. That's not an Iowa-only phenomenon, it's how PR works. To have 12 (eventually 13) players admitted to a hospital at once with a similar medical issue (and make no mistake, the Iowa trainers clearly had a very good idea of what that issue was when they referred the players to the hospital, to say nothing of by the time that press release had been sent the next day) and expect the matter to be resolved with "no further comment" is at best irresponsible behavior for an athletic department. At worst, it's incompetent and borderline exploitative.

And it's just par for the course for Iowa.

 
 
 
 
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