Iowa to let hospitalized players workout provided they can

Submitted by ish on January 31st, 2011 at 3:19 PM

think that's a stupid headline?  well here it is:

that's right, iowa has decided that the hospitalized players can work out provided that their tests show that they're capable of doing so.  which, you know, would've made sense the first time, and i think every human expected to be the rule prior to allowing them to work out again.

way to go iowa!



January 31st, 2011 at 3:33 PM ^

Work out a ton= muscle breakdown= muscle pieces in blood, kidney can't filter it all so it shuts down= hospitalized for acute kidney failure (very simplified version of rhabdomyalosis)


January 31st, 2011 at 3:44 PM ^

As a preface, I have no medical background.  But, I am fairly obsessed with S&C, lifting, training, etc., so here is my best understanding from all of the articles that I have read, as well as some conjecture based upon experience (I will note the conjecture).

The Iowa S&C guy had the team in a 3-4 week training program that was, how do you say, freeking insane.  The players talked about 100-rep sets of squats with 200+ lbs, marathon workouts, etc.  One of the players posted on his facebook page that he couldn't walk the next day and that he fell when he tried to stand.  For those who are not familiar, doing a 100-rep set of squats is INSANE - this is what some of the oldschool bodybuilders did in the 1070s and 1980s (all of whom were admittedly juicing with more steroids than Barry Bonds ever dreamed of taking), and even these steroid-enhanced bodybuilders talked about puking after sets, being unable to walk for days, etc.  I have been training for15 solid years, and I have never been even considered doing 100-rep sets of squats like these guys did.

Any form of listing is aimed at breaking down muscle fibers.  When the musckes break down, the byproduct is eliminated from the body via the kidneys.  The problem with this type of training - done for extended lengths of time over weeks - is that the amount of muscle breakdown is more than what is safe, and the byproduct is so voluminous that the kidneys cannot keep up and can sustain damage. 

Now, here is where I am going to speculate:  There is simply no way that 18 year old kids can sustain this type of training without supplementation.  Not implying steroids, at all, although who knows with Iowa's shady staff.  But, after about 2-3 days of this torture, I would imagine that a bunch of the team took a trip down to GNC and bought a boat-load of bodybuilding supps (creatine, protein shakes, etc.), without knowing how to properly use them.  I could see the situation (and I have with friends), where these kids are on an insane training program, go out and try to consume an insane amount of protein (and start taking mega-doses of creatine), thinking that doing so will help them get through the strain of the program and improve their results.  

The problem with mega-dosing with protein powders or creatine (both of which are entirely safe, when consumed properly) is that they produce additional strain on the kidneys.  This additional strain, in and of itself, is not a problem, and can be overcome by simply drinking adequate supplies of water.

But, the combined with the strain on the kidneys from the insane training, the likely mega-doses of creating and protein powders and the accompanying dehydration from work-outs like this probably proved too much for the kidneys and these kids ended up with a serious condition.  



January 31st, 2011 at 3:50 PM ^

We need Rosenberg and Snyder to get to Iowa City stat to conduct a detailed investigation.  Certainly to put over a dozen players in the hospital for kidney failure would require mandatory practice and lifting hours that exceed NCAA limitations...


January 31st, 2011 at 4:37 PM ^

You or I would not do 100 reps of anything like squats since your form breaks down pretty early. Those kids could do 12-15 sets consecutively with a good spotter. The 100 yard prowler sled push would then crush you. I never do both the same day for a reason. A number of the kids went to the training for treatment since they could not loosen up, but were just thrown back in. Iowa used routines like this after their last back season a few years back so this was definitely punitive workouts. The staff just went overboard on rest periods and no wonder the kidneys could not flush the lactic acid from those large muscle groups.


January 31st, 2011 at 5:32 PM ^

If the staff really made these kids go through this type of training of a form of punishment, then the B10 and the NCAA needs to look into this.

Sure, making kids do some extra S&C as a form of punishment has always existed, and probably always will.  My hockey coach used to make us do an extra 20 suicide runs (up and back from the goal line to the first blue line, to center line, to the goal line, etc. . . ), and coaches in all sports make teams do extra laps, reps, sets, etc., to motivate or to punish for lack of effort, but there is a very big line that this type of training crossed.

Here is a good test:  If the type of punitive training would get a country in trouble with the United Nations for violations of the Geneva Convention on prisoner treatment, then you might not want to subject kids to it.  Just saying.  

True Blue Grit

January 31st, 2011 at 3:39 PM ^

According at least to this article, no one has decommited yet:

But, we'll see on NSD if some of them don't get cold feet.  I would if I were one of their recruits or parent of a recruit.  Iowa people seem to be really enamored with this S&C coach, like he can't do anything wrong.  Iowa's decision to clam up and hope the whole story goes away is a big mistake in the long run IMO.  But from what I'm seeing here, the Iowa press is acting more like a bunch of Hawkeye Homers as opposed to being Free Press-like.  So, unless the story is pursued by the national media, it won't ever get legs.


January 31st, 2011 at 3:34 PM ^

This situation isn't going to end well - notice the comment in the article about attorneys contacting the families of the injured students?  I simply don't get how Ferentz didn't get his butt back to the school when the story came out and chose, instead, to spend a few more days on the recruiting trail.  Major faux pas.

In a case like this, should the families/students choose to sue, you are only talking about the level of the settlement or jury award.  The negligence is very obvious.

I just hope that no one sustained a permanent injury.


True Blue Grit

January 31st, 2011 at 3:45 PM ^

If any of the Iowa player families decides to sue, it's a slam dunk, easy case to win.  Even a 2nd year law student could win it.  I'm sure that's why Iowa's lawyers told all their people to shut up and not say anything.  To me, Ferentz's reputation has really taken a hit here.  And Iowa's administration saying they're going to embark on a "90 day investigation" isa  really weak response.  What happens in the interim?  Their crazy S&C coach keeps trying to kill more players?


January 31st, 2011 at 3:57 PM ^

When I first heard this story, I thought it was a case of the partiers on the team not being in very good shape when they got there.  Since there were multiple workouts, it looks like the conditioning staff fucked up pretty badly in their quest to erase the taste of last season's record.  

However, Google health does list "use or overdose of drugs" as a risk factor.  I really hope that 12 kids on that team didn't think they could work like that in the daytime and party at night,  but I'm guessing a routine tox screen was done and that any findings will eventually come out.  

Either way, it doesn't look very good for their program right now.  First, I hope they all recover fully.  Then, I hope they all continue their athletic pursuits.  Thirdly, if they were partying during workouts like that, I hope they all learned a lesson that would have been easier learned by watching Magnum Force:


A man's gotta know his limitations.


January 31st, 2011 at 4:17 PM ^

I don't think so.  You would have to do a TON of drugs to inflict this type of damage to your body in a short time.  The odds of a dozen kids ALL doing this much drugs and having the same reaction are small.

Reading the articles about this on the interwebs, this HAS to be related to the insane training that Iowa's S&C guy was doing.  

Here's my question:  How is there not a criminal investigation into this?  

Monocle Smile

January 31st, 2011 at 4:27 PM ^

It's almost hilarious how Iowa thought they could just let this slip.

"I think that wraps it up. Oh, BTW we just had 13 guys work out so hard they pissed brown. Questions?"



January 31st, 2011 at 8:15 PM ^

their football team so hard that 13 of them were hospitalized. Eh. Then I told her they pissed brown
<br>She wouldn't let Ferentz dog-sit for the weekend, let alone have a kid go play there. Add in the drug busts, player fights, and transfers, and you have to wonder.
<br>This last bit is not a confidence-inducing response by the university.