- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 26, 2011

IOWA CITY, IOWA (AP) - The University of Iowa will put in safeguards to better protect the health of students after 12 football players were hospitalized following grueling offseason workouts, a school official said Wednesday.

Associate athletics director Fred Mims would not disclose details of the case, including what medical condition the players are suffering from. The school disclosed Monday night’s hospitalizations on Tuesday, saying they were likely related to winter workouts.

The school said the players, whom they would not identify, were “in safe and stable condition” and responding well to treatment.

Several players wrote on their Facebook pages that the workouts involved intense weightlifting. Freshman linebacker Jim Poggi wrote Saturday that he had done 100 squats and pushed a sled 100 yards. He said he was having trouble walking. His uncle, Bo Poggi, said his nephew remained hospitalized Wednesday and he had not heard an official explanation of the illness.

“All of us are extremely concerned,” Poggi said. “We’re hoping for the best and this is a temporary situation and he’ll make a full recovery. And then we’ll get to the next steps on how this happened, why it happened.”

Another player, freshman defensive lineman Carl Davis of Detroit, wrote Sunday that he couldn’t walk or feel his arms after performing 100 squats and 100 bench presses, and had “a whole weekend of soreness.” A third, freshman defensive back Tanner Miller of Kalona, Iowa, wrote on Tuesday that he had a “night in the hospital .couldn’t be a worse day.”

Mims said he was still waiting to learn the precise details of the illness and he cautioned fans to have patience until they are clear.

“The doctors and the administration will come forward with an explanation of what did happen, how it happened and what we can do to ensure it doesn’t happen again,” he said.

Mims, who is in charge of the department’s compliance with NCAA rules, said the matter did not need to be reported since the workouts were allowed and routine.

“We have an excellent medical staff and training staff who will do due diligence to look at what did transpire and make sure we can avoid this in the future,” he said. “I’m quite sure they’ll have safeguards in place to make sure people aren’t harmed.”

He said the case is a “good lesson” for why university officials should ask players about how they are feeling after strenuous workouts. He said Iowa will also try to avoid problems after players return from school breaks and might not have kept up with fitness routines by making sure expectations are clear.

The university said coach Kirk Ferentz was out of town on a recruiting trip but was aware of the situation. Chris Doyle, the team’s strength and conditioning coach who has worked under Ferentz all 12 years of his tenure, did not immediately return phone and e-mail messages. The team’s physician, Ned Amendola, was traveling in Costa Rica on business, an aide said.

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