IOWA CITY IA - OCTOBER 23: Kirk Ferentz head coach of the University of Iowa Hawkeyes looks on from the sidelines during the second half against the Wisconsin Badgers during the first half of play at Kinnick Stadium on October 23 2010 in Iowa City Iowa. Wisconsin won 31-30 over Iowa. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images).

Willie Lowe, Iowa DB Hospitalized After Workout, Requests Transfer

The University of Iowa has wrapped a weeks-long investigation into a January workout that sent 13 Hawkeye football players to the hospital. All players have been cleared to return to practice, but one says they're not back to full strength.

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Iowa's Willie Lowe To Transfer, Says Rhabdo-Stricken Players Aren't Fully Recovered

Iowa's infamous January workout that hospitalized thirteen Hawkeye football players already cost them one player of the future in blue-chip recruit Cyrus Kouandjio. As of late Tuesday night, it appears at least one present player is out the door as well: Rising senior defensive back Willie Lowe, who was stricken with rhabdomyolysis along with a dozen teammates, has requested his release from the program. To hear the way he's talking to Joe Schad, it sounds like we might not see Lowe on the field this season at all:

I would like to be able to sit out a year, regain my strength, feel fine and play again. But I don't know. I am still down 20 pounds and I am having headaches every few days. [...] Only a few players are back to full speed that I know of.

It's grim news for a program that seems as eager to move past the incident as it was to gloss over the problem in the first place altogether. The school has cleared the hospitalized players for spring practice, but if Lowe is still this far from full strength, who else might be ailing under the radar? SB Nation's Black Heart Gold Pants has a bad feeling about whatever news comes next:

Lowe's case may be unique; as a senior, if he felt he needed a year off to recover despite being medically cleared to play, he would either have to talk the coaches into giving him a redshirt (in a year where Iowa will be breaking in two safeties) and likely lose his chance to start in 2012, or transfer and spend his year recouperating.  And as bad as the Lowe transfer is for the secondary, his comment that "only a few players are back to full speed" is even worse for the program.

Visit BHGP for more on the "rhabdo thirteen" and other Iowa Hawkeyes athletics news.


Iowa Hawkeyes Rhabdomyolysis Report Released; Players Not At Fault

Ahead of its self-imposed 90-day deadline, the University of Iowa is releasing the final report on a January workout that sent thirteen Hawkeye football players to the hospital with rhabdomyolysis. Their findingsThat a certain squat workout was to blame for the players' kidney malfunctions (in addition to unspecified injuries to other players); that no player's condition was exacerbated by drugs or supplements, and that the university's response to the incident was, obviously, less than ideal. Our Iowa blog wraps up this unfortunate chapter in Hawkeye history: 

The story here, in both the rhabdomyolysis outbreak itself and the University of Iowa's handling of it, is one of poor preparation.  The report doesn't explicitly say it, but it certainly implies that the players didn't return from three weeks spent at home eating turkey prepared to jump into heavy workouts.  The report essentially admits that the strength and conditioning staff wasn't prepared for, or even knowledgeable about, rhabdomyolysis, and had no response when it began spreading through the team.  And the report didn't need to tell us what the FOIA requests had already confirmed, that the athletic department wasn't anywhere near prepared for what to do once the press and public had it.

For more on the report itself and further discussion, visit Black Heart Gold Pants, where we're sure they're thrilled to not have to type "rhabdomyolysis" ever again. 


Iowa Football Players Released From Hospital; Let The Recriminations Begin!

With the release over the weekend of the 13 hospitalized Iowa football players, laid low last week by a kidney ailment commonly linked to overexertion, and with both the head coach and the athletic director actually back in Iowa and available for comment, it's time for everybody's favorite part of any unfortunate incident: Catty recriminations! Here's Kirk Ferentz, leading things off with an unprecedented display of real-seeming human emotion:

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.

But it wouldn't be an Iowa football crisis without some ill-placed swiping at the chattering class, who just refuses to let Kirk Ferentz get on with his life and Iowa football hospitalize its players in peace!

Now that these students are out of the hospital and on the road to recovery, we can devote our full attention to determining what happened, and making sure it does not happen again. There has been a lot of speculation by those who don’t have the facts and it is unfair and inappropriate for anyone to make wild guesses about what happened.

What, like the associate AD implying that the players were at fault because they didn't keep up their conditioning over winter break? That kind of speculation?

As near as local media outlets can determine, the first five players were released Friday, six on Saturday, and the last two Sunday. Join SB Nation's Black Heart Gold Pants in wishing them all a speedy recovery.


All 13 Hospitalized Iowa Football Players Test Negative For Illegal Drugs

Drug tests for the 13 hospitalized Iowa football players have reportedly come back clean. The players haven't yet been released, but there's one of many possible causes for the widespread collapse off the board:

The tests were issued at the behest of doctors at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics to help determine causes of the muscle and kidney ailment that brought the players to the hospital. Cocaine and other amphetamines are known to exacerbate cases of rhabdomyolysis, the condition that likely befell the players after intense offseason workouts in the last week.

The test results do not rule out the possibility that over-the-counter supplements might have played a role in the players’ poor health.

Suppose the school will have to go back to calling them lazy now, no?

Elsewhere in the saga, Iowa has set a 90-day timeline for an investigation into the incident, and SB Nation's Black Heart Gold Pants has some harsh words for the Hawkeyes' SID.

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