Recently there was a situation down in Oregon where a high school football team was preparing for the upcoming season. A number of the players, 24 actually, were admitted to hospital complaining of arm pain.

After being assessed it was determined that the players were suffering from a number of conditions such as rhabdomyolysis and or compartment syndrome. Wikipedia defines rhabdomyolysis as the rapid breakdown of muscle tissue due to injury to muscle tissue. This injury may be caused by physical (training) chemical or biological factors. Compartment syndrome is where blood vessels, nerves and muscles are confined within a closed space.

Some of the players were diagnosed with high levels of creatine kinase which results from high levels of muscular activity in the heat. It can be toxic, specifically to the kidneys.

And it was at this point that the media went a little off track. They saw the word ‘creatine’ and jumped to the conclusion that this metabolite was responsible for the hospitalization of these players. These same reports didn’t focus on the aspect that:

* This was a new coach potentially looking to set a tone at his first training camp with overly intense workouts

* Two hour workouts in 95-115 degree heat

* What was the hydration status of these players?

* What was the fitness level of these players?

* Were the players taking any other supplements?

Stay tuned for Part II of Hockey Training and Creatine where I share the answers to these questions as well as a position statement regarding creatine from one of the most reputable nutritional associations in the world.


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