IOWA CITY, Iowa — Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said Friday that five of the 13 players hospitalized this week with a muscle disorder following grueling offseason workouts are being discharged.
Ferentz, a former University of Maine head football coach, said in a statement that he’s looking forward to the release of the eight remaining players “in the days ahead.”
The coach hasn’t spoken to reporters since the school announced Tuesday that the players had been hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis, a stress-induced syndrome that can damage cells and cause kidney problems.
Ferentz, whose son James is the starting center for the Hawkeyes, said he and members of his staff have been communicating with the players and their parents since learning they’d been admitted to the hospital.
“The health and well-being of each student-athlete in our football program is paramount. I will work with all of the individuals and groups that contribute to the welfare of our student-athletes to understand what led to this occurrence in order to make certain it does not happen again,” Ferentz said.
University leaders announced Thursday that they’ve ordered an investigation into how the players wound up in the hospital, with Iowa Board of Regents President David Miles and school president Sally Mason saying the hospitalizations were “a cause for grave concern.”
They agreed the university will have 90 days to complete an investigation analyzing events leading up to their hospitalization, and that the review will involve independent medical experts.
“Our entire staff shares the concern expressed by University of Iowa President Sally Mason and President David Miles of the Iowa Board of Regents and the State of Iowa, for the well-being and continued recovery of every student-athlete treated at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics,” Ferentz said.
Also on Friday, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics officials said that medical records for some of the hospitalized football players may have been viewed by people who didn’t have proper authorization.
University spokesman Tom Moore said a routine check by the hospital’s information technology department indicated a potential breach of confidential information.
The players and their families were notified Friday of the matter, and officials say an investigation may take up to two weeks.