Risk Factors for Collegiate Swimmers Hospitalized With Exertional Rhabdomyolysis

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Objective:To identify midseason risk factors for symptomatic exertional rhabdomyolysis (sER) in swimmers after a novel upper body workout.Design:Retrospective (1) survey and (2) analyses of observational laboratory data conducted over a 16-week training period, 2 months before sER.Setting:Midwest University.Participants:Thirty-four collegiate swimmers.Independent Variables:(1) Motivation, symptoms, and supplements for survey variables. (2) Changes (midseason minus preseason) in body composition, blood pressure (BP), urinary measures, and protein shake ingestion for laboratory variables.Main Outcome Measures:Swimmers were categorized in hospitalized (H), treated and released from hospital (RH), and nonhospitalized (NH) groups for analyses.Results:(1) Six swimmers were in the H group (17.6%; 3 male/3 female) and 7 in the RH group (20.6%; 3 male/4 female). Nonsignificant trend toward H swimmers relating more upper body soreness (≥9/10) than RH (8/10) and NH (6/10) swimmers (P > 0.05) while reporting “felt bad and workout went poorly” (P = 0.009). H and RH swimmers reported more arm locking during the workout (P = 0.04) and brown urine after arm competition compared with NH-group swimmers (P = 0.03). (2) Increases in right systolic (P = 0.01) and left diastolic (P = 0.02) BP, with trends toward decreased left arm lean mass (P = 0.06) in H compared with RH and NH swimmers. Female H swimmers had more acidic urine (pH = 5.50 vs 6.9; P = 0.004), less volume, and higher specific gravity than RH + NH swimmers. All H swimmers regularly ingested protein shakes after workouts.Conclusions:Risk factors for sER included exceptional motivation, extreme soreness, increased resting BP, acidic urine (females), and regular ingestion of protein shakes.

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