Thursday, April 14. 2011

Abusive University of Iowa Football Workout Has No Place In College Athletics

Tyrannical, authoritarian coaches have for years walked a fine line between tough practices and abusive practices. It appears that Kirk Ferentz’ University of Iowa football program recently went over the line. After an intense — some would say abusive — strength and conditioning workout, 13 Iowa football players were hospitalized after “exhibiting symptoms of a breakdown of muscle tissue as a result of a strenuous workout on Jan. 20. All 13 players were hospitalized for nearly a week with the condition, known as rhabdomyolysis.” 

The Iowa incident is just the latest reminder that university administrators need to have better oversight regarding the actions of their athletic departments.

Reaction to the Iowa story has been strong.

“The weightlifting exercise blamed for hospitalizing 13 University of Iowa football players was used inappropriately, officials for a national strength and conditioning association said Monday.

Jay Hoffman, president of the board for the National Strength and Conditioning Association, also said the Hawkeyes’ football strength and conditioning staff misinterpreted the findings of a study that they claimed supported their use of the workout to increase strength during the first days of offseason conditioning.

‘This workout is not a common workout and has no scientific basis to be used to train college athletes,’ Hoffman said in a statement.”

In addition, the National Strength and Conditioning Association statement said, “Rhabdomyolysis is not an expected or an acceptable outcome of any training program. It is not part of the inherent risk associated with athletic competition, and is a sign that the training program was inappropriate for those athletes at that time of the year.”

For the full story, read “Iowa football staff misused exercise that led to rhabdo, experts say” from the Des Moines Register.

Commentary by Ken Reed, League of Fans


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