Some potentially troubling news for Iowa as colleague Joe Schad broke the news Tuesday night that Hawkeyes defensive back Willie Lowe has asked for his release from the program.
Lowe is one of 13 Iowa players hospitalized in January with rhabdomyolsis, a stress-induced syndrome that can damage cells and cause kidney problems. Lowe tells Schad that he hasn't regained the weight he lost while he had rhabdo and is still experiencing headaches, putting his football-playing future in doubt.
Iowa said all the hospitalized players have been cleared to participate in spring ball. Standout cornerback Shaun Prater talked last week about having rhabdo and said he's doing fine. But Lowe tells Schad several players are still struggling to get back to form.
"Only a few players are back to full speed that I know of," Lowe said. "Some said this wasn't a big deal. But this was a big deal to me."
Iowa athletic director Gary Barta confirmed Lowe's request for a release and said in a statement, "While we've honored that request, our interest is for him to remain a Hawkeye."
There's also this:
Two family sources of hospitalized players said Lowe is not the only cleared player to still be experiencing symptoms from workouts that occurred more than two months ago. One source close to Lowe said the player will undergo an independent medical evaluation to determine the possible long-term effects of the rhabdomyolsis, a stress induced syndrome that can damage cells and also affected Lowe's kidneys.
Iowa's internal investigation into the rhabdo situation didn't blame the players or the strength and conditioning staff for what happened. The investigators ruled out drugs or supplements as a cause. The rhabdo report, released the day Iowa started spring practice, seemed to turn the spotlight back to football, but Lowe's comments are potentially troubling.
Perhaps Lowe is an isolated case, or maybe more players will want to depart. Is legal action still a possibility? Tough to tell. But it sounds like the rhabdo situation isn't over yet.