BALTIMORE (WJZ)–More than a dozen college football players are hospitalized—all suffering from muscle damage. One of those players is from Baltimore, and his father—a local football coach—wants to know what happened.

Kai Jackson explains the case is now under investigation.

An investigation is underway to determine what made the players sick. Yet the manner and number that became ill is raising concerns about supplements.

A scare for players on the University of Iowa football team and their families. Thirteen athletes went to the hospital after what’s being described as an intense workout.

Now doctors believe the players came down with a condition known as rhabdomyolsis.  

“Rhabdomyolsis happens when you have a breakdown of the muscle tissue,” said Dr. James Williams, St. Joseph Medical Center.

Williams says rhabdomyolisis combined with dehydration and the possibility of supplements is dangerous.

“You have muscle breakdown from intense workouts. You have dehydration and then supplements which are nephrotoxic are damaging to the kidneys directly. That’s a perfect storm for kidney failure,” Williams said.

One of those players is from Maryland. Jim Poggi is a linebacker for the Hawkeyes. His father Biff coaches Gilman’s football team where Jim once played.

“Obviously when your son’s admitted to the hospital that’s concerning,” Biff Poggi said.

It’s unclear whether the football players were actually taking supplements. An investigation will have to make that determination.

Experts say those who use creatine and other supplements are taking a risk.

“We can’t guarantee the effect of supplements. We don’t even know if they even work, but we do know they’re dangerous,” said Mike Gimbel, Powered By Me.

The players are doing well and responding to treatment. Overall muscle soreness and dark-colored urine are a couple of the symptoms they suffered.

The Iowa Board of Regents is giving the university 90 days to complete its investigation into the incident.

Comments (203)
  1. franklin808 says:

    Who cares about college football? Watch DA BEARS!!

  2. jake says:

    First of all, if a person can not spell a word right, never listen to them. Also, why do people care what others put in their body? It is their body and they can do what they want. Right liberals? Doesn’t really matter anyway since we will all have obamacare. He will take care of it all.

  3. donald crow says:

    This comment is for mike, who thinks all supplements should be taken off the market..Go back to china..or north korea where you live..Okay, lets take it off the market, but lets start with tobacco and alcohol..they kill far more people than any roids or bodybuilding products..I am somewhat of a bodybuilder, and the supplements i have taken, well its a long list..their perfectly healthy for you..but after i take it, im not doin some intense physical exercise either..or playing football..if you take a creatine based product, drink plenty water,,it says that on the label.. Its time we start taking responsibility for our action, and stop blaming others for our stupidity..

  4. WhaiSoSerious? says:

    This entire article and the comments made me lol.

  5. Tom says:

    This is total bull! He doesnt know if supplements work, or how they work, but he does know they’re dangerous. He knows nothing except his OPINION. Under normal conditions, most are good and help. Know all the facts before you give your opinion. BTW, I’ve been using supps and personal training for many years and have never known anyone to have issues unless they take way more than recommended.

  6. S Bhatt says:

    I can’t stand garbage journalism like this. When they admit that they are unclear whether or not any of the affected players took any sort of supplements, why in God’s name does the article speculate about supplements being the culprit? Clearly somebody has an agenda.

  7. Right On! says:

    Coaches and Players should have trained with Kool ‘N Fit…like the pro’s.~ Hydration would have been a plus as well!

  8. rrttyyhjhj says:

    this happened a few months ago at another school as well

  9. the_last_horrah says:

    Seems the athletes used supplements with inadequate hydration. Many sports coaches in schools don’t allow proper amounts of water for the players. They drive the students into the ground. Don’t blame the supplements, blame the coach.

  10. lcky9 says:

    lets see they didn’t drink enough water so it’s the supplements???? HOW about it’s the fault of the coaches for NOT making sure they drank enough???

  11. Emery says:

    Wow. There a lot of really stupid comments here. And some very good ones as well. 100,000 die every year from drug complications. Who is the real danger to society? Big Pharma is……. there their Gestapo lackeys in the FDA.

  12. Dean says:

    79 yrs young…..I NEVER take Pharma prescriptions….Good food/water, exercise and supplements will get you to 100 easy! How many die from prescriptions vs. supplements? Case closed.

  13. Fred says:

    Oh I gotta comment on this. First off I have been in the supplement Industry 30 years. NEVER have I seen any thing like this occur except in Shawadanki where the chinese made a bad batch of some junk amino acid. Second, ALL Natural product manufacturers must use GMP certified facilities mandated by the FDA and let me tell you if your in the Industry you know what quality is and isnt. I have sold over 10,000 different products over the years and listen to customers… they will tell you straight up what works. Most products are all tested for quality and many companies have been around for years. Many Athelets shoot steroids or use what I call extreme supplements, like Dean was saying Food, water and supplements like essential amino acids are critical for muscle repair and development. I’ll agree Drugs are the Number 1 Killer in the USA plus hundreds of thousands of interactions go unreported yearly. Food would be number 2 Killer as it is causing all the other cardiovascular issues etc.

  14. Fred says:

    Also side note. The body requires specific nutrients to function and in the case of muscle repair, Water, Protein, Amino Acids and dozens of other “Nutrients” Extracted from food when it is digested. Thats the first thing that we as a civilized nation should consider.. Nutrition.. but sadly it is last. Food is not food anymore people. It’s a toxic dead food full of synthetic substances that cause illness and disease. It kills me to see people buying into the cereal that contains all daily vitamins, or think they can consume sodas, fast food or pre packaged food with tons of persertaves in it. Dead food Kills.

  15. Brian Ballard says:

    THeir condition is a well known side effect of exercising too intensely. So let’s throw some stuff out there about how it “might be supplement related.” Even though it’s not known if they even took ANY supplements at all. Brilliant. Even if the supplement mentioned, creatine, has nothing to do with breaking down muscle and is used by millions of people with no deleterious effects whatsoever. It’s agenda driven reporting, either that or it’s reporting by idiots.

    And creating isn’t made by “big pharma”, you idiots. And it wasn’t “approved by the fda”. It’s a natural substance, like vitamin c. Doesn’t mean it’s not harmful, but thousands of studies would indicate that it isn’t.

  16. TW says:

    Hey!!! Nobody has stated that this happened in hot weather . I think it was Sept. or maybe August which would be pre-season, when you have your most intense work outs. How many are on the Iowa football team a lot of colleges have 90 or more. 13 were affected? Seems that there should be more. Yes, I know teams are broken down into J.V.’s etc.

  17. Mike Hu says:

    It’s a regular and predictable result of “High Intensity Training,” which is a current fad in exercise, of which some of its early proponents even died at an early age — just as Jim Fixx did promoting the then popular aerobics and running regimen, thinking unlimited amounts of those activities made one immune from all harm.

    Before that isometrics was touted as the miracle fad — until people started blacking out and suffering from high blood pressure. Before that, the popular conditioning activity was strenuous exercise while depriving athletes of water would make them stronger — if it didn’t kill them. Some will use all of these once popular tactics together as though that was The Next Big Thing.

    You can’t work out intensely for more than 5 minutes, or even one — because it is like running the 100 yard dash for a mile. Even cheetahs don’t do it; if they figure they can’t catch their prey in a quarter of a mile, they stop — and running all-out that way every time, doesn’t enable them to run any longer the next time.

    So you have all these exercise physiologists (PE teachers) who have no idea what they are talking about and wouldn’t know how to design a valid exercise study, and then these bogus businesses selling certificates that certify nothing else except that these people paid their $500 and presented proof that they had previously obtained First Aid and CPR certificates thinking that whatever they prescribe is what people ought to do — because they say so.

    A lot of self-trained bodybuilders particularly, as well as many other athletes overtrain in this manner, but wait until they recover sufficiently, or burn out shortly, which is why most of them don’t sustain that kind of training for long, let alone for a lifetime. If one can achieve intensity (an all-out effort) it takes very little, to totally exhaust the body, while NOT achieving any intensity (full muscle contraction), can be sustained indefinitely without any desirable results and effects.

    The secret is that if one can obtain a maximum effort, more is not necessary, and if one can’t all the suboptimal efforts won’t make one capable of a single supreme effort, and knowing this, and learning this, is the major objective to any conditioning (learning) program — and not being totally oblivious to what is happening.

  18. gary says:

    Sounds like rubbish to me , how is it that they have been using these supplements for so long but ll of a sudden this happens now but never before ,Something fishy going on here like a clampdown on supplements of think driven by GMO food scam.

  19. Nick Lewis says:

    ask this uestion clearly. did the supplement contain caffienem

  20. Bill Z says:

    I once used a supplement made by EAS that had creatine and taurine in it for a while when I was working out. Then I climbed Mt. St. Helens and my body completely shut down. I was flown off the Mt. to a hospital with very bad muscle damage, black urine, kidney problems & my liver was in bad shape. I spent 7 days in hospital i couldn’t walk for 4 days. It happened again about 7 months later before I figured it out. The D-10 IV works the best for a speedy recovery.

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