Jan 29, 2015
Exertional Rhabdomyolysis Breakdown

By Patrick Bohn

Exertional rhabdomyolysis, a rare condition categorized by a breakdown in muscle tissue after intense workouts by poorly conditioned athletes, is believed to be what sent two dozen high school athletes in Oregon to the hospital last week.
The condition is often accompanied by intense muscle pain, a tingling sensation in extremities, and tea-colored urine. In the case of the Oregon athletes, three also developed compartment syndrome, which puts pressure on the muscles and nerves. The condition can also be exacerbated by poor hydration.

While the condition itself is extremely rare, it can occur in athletes at any level. Washington Redskins defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, who had been in a public spat with Head Coach Mike Shanahan over his conditioning, was reported to have had the condition, according to the Washington Post.

Additionally, eight members of a high school girls’ lacrosse team were hit by the condition a few years ago following a workout that included numerous bicep curls.

Dr. Michael Koester, a Eugene, Ore., sports medicine expert, told the Register-Guard that it is important parents don’t overreact and attribute all muscle soreness to rhabdomyolysis

“Our concern is making sure that everybody doesn’t start worrying about a little bit of muscle soreness and think they need to take their kid to the hospital to get checked,” he said. “That’s not the case at all.”

Read more about Rhabdomyolysis in the December issue of
T&C, which will cover the subject in an in-depth feature.

Patrick Bohn is an Assistant Editor at Training & Conditioning.

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