Blogs and Commentary

posted 03.12.2012 at 2.55 p.m. by Clare Lochary

Six Ohio State Women's Players Hospitalized

Related: Full press briefing from Ohio State team physician

Six Ohio State women's lacrosse players were hospitalized over the weekend with symptoms of rhabdomyolysis following an intense team workout. Rhabdomyolysis, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, is "the breakdown of muscle fibers that leads to the release of muscle fiber contents (myoglobin) into the bloodstream. Myoglobin is harmful to the kidney and often causes kidney damage." Neither the athletic department nor the hospital would release the names of the hospitalized players. 

On Friday March 9, one player approached the training staff with complaints of severe muscle soreness after a workout. The trainers referred her to the team physician, who recommended that she be admitted to the emergency room. When ER doctors confirmed the first player's rhabdomyolysis diagnosis, the medical staff evaluated the rest of the team and found five more players with similar symptoms. They were subsequently admitted to the hospital. Two of the original six players have been discharged; the remaining four are in fair condition. 

"They’re all doing fine. We don’t anticipate any severe long-term consequences," Dr. Chris Kaeding, Ohio State's head team physician, told local media. Kaeding added that his staff had been trained to screen for rhabdomyolysis after an incident last year in which 13 members of the Iowa football team were hospitalized after tough offseason workouts.

Rhabdomyolysis most commonly occurs after crush injuries, like a car accident or other major trauma in which muscle tissue is under a great deal of pressure, but it can occur after intense physical exertion.

"I think this kind of mild rhabdomyolysis, from a workout, probably occurs frequently," said Kaeding. "I think a lot of places across the country, the athlete shows up and says, 'Hey, we had a big workout yesterday and my muscles are really sore.' And I think a lot of places say, 'Hey, take some Motrin. Have a Gatorade. See you tomorrow.' And quite frankly, in plenty of cases, that probably is adequate treatment, depending on the severity of the rhabdomyolysis. Here we picked up it and screened the entire team."

Keading said none of the players have showed any sign of kidney damage.

The Ohio State athletic department released a statement on the incident:

"On Friday March 9, six student-athletes from the Ohio State women's lacrosse team were admitted to The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center with symptoms of rhabdomyolysis.

"A member of the team had reported to the athletic training room with complaints of not feeling well. The athletic training staff evaluated the student-athlete and one of the team physicians was notified, who recommended referral to the emergency room for further evaluation and treatment. Subsequently, the medical staff then evaluated the remaining members of the team to determine if others had similar complaints. As a result, five additional student-athletes were referred to the hospital for evaluation and treatment. Two student-athletes have been discharged, and the remaining four are recovering and in fair condition."

The No. 11 Buckeyes are off to a 5-1 start, a run which included a 14-10 upset of then-No. 6 Stanford on Feb. 12. Ohio State is on spring break this week, and the team has not played a game since March 4, when they lost 16-7 to Notre Dame. Ohio State's next game is Sunday at Canisius.