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Assistant says once-ailing players will participate in spring drills

[ 1 ] February 8, 2011 |

The 13 Iowa football players hospitalized after participating in strenuous workouts last month will participate in spring drills.

That’s the word from Hawkeye assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Eric Johnson, who spoke to a crowd of about 200 at a Polk County I-Club gathering Tuesday night at the 7 Flags Events Center in Clive.

“As far as we know, everybody’s fairly healthy,” Johnson said after the hour-long function. “Everybody’s back in class.”

The 13 athletes suffered from rhabdomyolysis — a disease often caused by an intense workout.

The hospitalization of the players made national news, and prompted investigations from the Iowa Board of Regents and coach Kirk Ferentz into the program’s off-season conditioning program.

“We’re still in a research mode right now,” Johnson said. “We’re looking at everything.

Iowa spring practice starts March 21. The final spring practice is April 16.

“It’s going to be a slow process working the players back into the fold, but as far as we know, they’ll all be ready to go for spring ball,” Johnson said. “They’re slowly getting back into the flow.”

Johnson said this year’s recruiting class potentially is one of the best since Ferentz has been the coach.

“If you’re not saying that, then you’re most likely looking for a job next year,” Johnson cracked. “That’s everywhere in the nation.”

Johnson said there was no negative recruiting in the wake of rhabdo.

“That never really came up in recruiting at all,” Johnson said. “We were fortunate that our class was so set that it didn’t necessarily hurt us in recruiting.”

Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Randy Peterson: Randy Peterson covers college football, college basketball and the Iowa Cubs for the Des Moines Register. Randy can be reached at randypeterson@dmreg.com or on Twitter via @RandyPete View author profile.

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