The Sports Desk -- Who wasn't there (and why Biff Poggi was)

Published: January 26 2011 | 8:18 pm - Updated: 31 March 2014 | 10:30 am in

Gazette columnist Mike Hlas and I discuss the day's events. Here's the link(no embed, trying to contain hits to the one page).

Should Ferentz/Barta/Doyle have been there?

Fair question and the answer is of course . . . but . . . I'm convinced the commonality hasn't been found in these 13 cases (I also don't expect anymore players to be admitted for rhabdo). The investigating the matter is an out, but it won't have a long shelf life.

Questions were left unanswered, but, at this point, is there an answer? I don't think there is.

I would expect another press conference when answers are known. Iowa doesn't offer much (or any) transparency. It knows it has to in this case (or at least offer as much as it can).

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Why did Biff Poggi, father of Jim, one of the 13 Hawkeyes hospitalized, speak during Wednesday's news conference.

"Jeez, there are all kinds of rumors about what happened," Biff Poggi said. "What drugs are involved, steroids. I just know what I've been told. They had a very hard workout. I think that it was a certainly workout that my son had never had before [Jim is a true freshman, so this is his first winter workout at Iowa].

"I think after the long layoff, it blew up some guys."

There was more.

"I also wanted to let everybody know, and I know this sounds nuts, but as a parent who's 900 miles away [Baltimore], I'm thankful for the kind of contact I've had with the coaches. Again, I've spoken to Kirk at least five times and then to his position coach Darrell Wilson, all the time. I'm very thankful for that.

"I'm also very thankful for having the hospital here. It's a big comfort. We always thought, it'd be a knee injury and he'd be in there, but it's a huge comfort. The people there, I can't express to you enough how kind they've been. They've been all over them and explaining it to us, the parents. I'm very thankful for that."

Bottomline, no one saw this coming. This was a parent saying that.

"You hate to throw anybody under the bus," Poggi said. "I honestly think everyone kind of felt like, it was a hard workout, of course we're going to be sore, work through this. I think that's a reasonable way to look at it."

Poggi said he's total comfortable with his son returning to the Hawkeyes, football and strength and conditioning.

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Paul Federici, Iowa's director of football operations, spent his first five years in IC as the director of the UI's Athletic Training Services. He spent five years as head athletic trainer for the Seattle Seahawks. He spent another five years as head athletic trainer for Vanderbilt.

In that time, he saw one case of rhabdo, in Seattle.

"It was a player who was drafted just before I arrived and then he was diagnosed with rhabdo that summer before he played in his first game," Federici said. "He went on to play 12 years with three or four Pro Bowls. In terms of his activity, you wouldn't have noticed it."

One of the precautions with the Seahawk player, Federici said, was no anti-inflammatories. With the muscle aches the Hawkeyes players faced last Thursday, they might've dipped into the ibuprofen. Wonder how that will affect them going forward.

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This wasn't an instantaneous thing. The symptoms appeared over a three-day period. At first, Iowa's training staff treated ice and stretching, according to Biff Poggi.

"Thursday it was just general fatigue," Biff Poggi said. "Thursday evening, he started to have what he described as kind of severe quad pain. And then that continued through the Friday workout, and again that was an upper workout, so a different set.

"And over the weekend, that didn't subside and it actually got a little worse. So he was working on stretching and going to the steam room in his sweats and trying to loosen up and all of those kinds of things and it actually didn't get any better. It actually got worse. Monday's work out with some jumping and other kinds of things, it didn't go well. And that's when the training staff -- his urine became discolored and that's when they sent him off to the hospital."

I asked if Jim Poggi was taking any sort of supplement.

"No, not that I know of," Biff Poggi said. "He does drink a protein supplement, normal protein supplement."

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Biff Poggi was asked what the players' morale was.

"Well, I've seen all of them, actually a wonderful thing, I have to tell you, as a father, there is quite a few -- there's 12 or 13 kids in there," he said. "But last night, there must have been 25 kids come over and see their teammates, and that was really very touching actually.

"The moral is, you know, they want to get out of there. They have about had it walking around in the gowns with the no-backs and those kind of things. I would tell you quite candidly that they want to get back and start playing. The concern is -- somebody asked the question, how long does this keep you out and that's part of the concern.

"The other thing is, there's some disappointment. There's some disappointment that, you know, getting ready for spring which is always a big part of the year that this has happened. And I would say that there's a little bit of disappointment, and I would say some of them, they are fighting, too."


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