Saturday, January 29, 2011

Iowa Football '11: Unlucky 13 strikes in unusual fashion for the Hawkeyes

What a week for Iowa Football, beginning Monday, January 25, with word of 12, later 13 players being hospitalized for Rhabdomyolysis brought on by off-season workouts, as the Hawkeyes enter year 13 of the Kirk Ferentz era at the University of Iowa, as head coach.

What a way to begin Year 13 for the Kirk Ferentz era at Iowa!

That disturbed me more than anything. Just knowing those guys,
those are not the kind of guys who do that sort of thing. The fact that that was
the first conclusion that anyone jumped to, I don’t think it was fair to those
guys to be quite honest with you
." - Julian Vandevelde, departing
senior offensive guard on the speculation of drugs

Some in the National Media have been ahead of the story with speculation and attacks. There is no question that this is a rare occurrence, but the University of Iowa isn't the first. In collegiate circles, the University of South Carolina had seven swimmers stricken by Rhabdomyolysis as they began preseason workouts in 2007. With an event like this, the University of Iowa was going to investigate into the facts leading to 13 players requiring hospitalization.

"Dr. John Graves, a staff physician in the division of hypertension and
internal medicine at the
MayoClinic in Rochester, Minn., said doctors at University of Iowa Hospitals should look at non training factors." - USA Today

Unusual case at Iowa puts focus on muscle disorder - USA Today
Rhabdomyolysis isn't a word that rolls off the tongue, but the hospitalization of 13 Iowa football players and the strenuous workouts that likely triggered their condition have shed a spotlight on its damaging effects ...

Iowa players test negative for illegal drugs - ESPN (blog) - Adam Rittenberg
My apologies for not posting this sooner, but the Sporting News' Dave Curtis reports from Iowa City tonight that the 13 Iowa football ...

This is typically a time of the year in College Football where coaching staffs are focused on recruiting and are on the road in preparation for National Signing Day, which is always the first Wednesday in February. Further, strength and conditioning staffs are typically beginning the preparation for the 2011 with the players with off-season workouts on campuses throughout the FBS. It appears this story will shed more details on what goes on in off-season workouts, through the investigation that will be conducted by the state Board of Regents.
  • Ferentz on Monday was on the road recruiting, when he learned that players had been hospitalized
  • Off-season conditioning is conducted by five strength & conditioning coaches at Iowa
  • Football staffs, under NCAA rules, are not allowed to participate in off-season workouts
  • Ferentz continued on the road recruiting through Wednesday, in communication by telephone with players and parents
  • The University of Iowa conducted a press conference on Wednesday, regarding the 13 hospitalized players
  • Ferentz was back in Iowa Wednesday, after the press conference
  • On Thursday, Ferentz meet with the hospitalized players and the players parents
  • On Friday, Ferentz issued his first public comments, with the announcement that five players have been discharged from the hospital
  • Ferentz is scheduled to meet with the media on Wednesday, National Signing Day
Faith DiBona first heard the news Monday that her son Shane was one of 13 Iowa football players hospitalized with rhabdomyolisis, a disorder in which muscles begin to deteriorate, possibly as a result of extensive overexertion ...

Iowa's strength and conditioning program is lead by Chris Doyle, who is entering his 13Th season along side Ferentz. Doyle is highly respected by many in college football, the NFL and high school ranks. Like Iowa LB Shane DiBona, who just completed his redshirt freshman season, Doyle grew up in the Boston area.
“He’s one of the most respected strength coaches in the
country. I know Chris. He does an unbelievable job. He loves what he does. He
loves those kids. He pushed them hard. Whether this workout was too intense or
something went wrong, it’s a shame."
- David Maimaron, DiBona's high school
Iowa football player Shane DiBona of Duxbury expected to be released from hospital -
DiBona one of 13 Iowa players treated after offseason workout ...
The workout performed by the 13 Iowa players before their hospitalization this week was considered so routine it was a "shoulder shrug" to some Hawkeyes, according to NFL agent Jack Bechta ...

Eight more players remain in the hospital and there recovery and release certainly remains an important story. The investigation into the reasons that lead to the hospitalization of 13 players is to be concluded in less than 90 days.

Information doesn't always flow fast enough in our 15 second sound bite world we see in America today. The 13 players impacted by this developing story apparently range from a walk-on to a possible all-Big Ten player. First year players to fourth year players in the Iowa program, even sons of NFL and high school coaches.

Some in the media want to play on the emotions of the parents. However, the key elements of this story are found in the facts. Some in the Media want access and facts know. However, facts aren't always accessible immediately.

Jumping to conclusions doesn't help the matter. Time, patience and an honest investigation of the facts will hopefully shed light on the causes leading up to the hospitalizations and a better understanding of how to prevent future occurrences. Accountability is always required, but a knee jerk reaction isn't justified either.


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