Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Exertional Rhabdomyolysis: It is not about excessive exercise, but about productive exercise.

Within the past 6 months, there have been two high profile occurrences of Exertional Rhabdomyolysis. While most cases of Exertional Rhabdomyolysis are rare and isolated cases, this past August (2010) 24 Oregon high school football athletes were treated or hospitalized by this affliction. On Monday, 1/24/11, 12 University of Iowa football athletes were hospitalized with Exertional Rhabdomyolysis. This is a disturbing trend. This condition is considered rare and in the past has afflicted few athletes. The fact that it is now affecting large numbers of athletes simultaneously gives cause for concern. Anecdotally there may be a number of causes (supplement use, energy drinks, lack of physical conditioning to name a few), but there is one common denominator; excessive unaccustomed exercise accompanied with dehydration. This brings the question, where is the coach. It is not how hard the exercise/practice session is that is important, but how productive this session is. The University of Iowa issued a statement stating: “Our No. 1 concern is the safety of our student-athletes”. The head coach is ultimately in control and in charge of his/her athletes (especially when it comes to their practice/exercise regimen). For this many athletes to succumb to Exertional Rhabdomyolysis (whether it is in Oregon or Iowa), it is important to note that it is most likely a coaching mistake that resulted in this medical emergency.
Simply put, Exertional Rhabdomyolysis is a condition where unaccustomed excessive exercise results in the breakdown of muscle fibers leading to the release of excessive amounts myoglobin, potassium and creatine kinase into the blood stream. This may then result in renal failure and in extreme cases death. This condition is considered to be compounded in the athlete who carries the sickle cell trait.

No comments:

Post a Comment