FULTON, Miss. (AP) — Three 13-year-olds who tried out for basketball last week at Itawamba Middle School are hospitalized in Memphis, a north Mississippi television station is reporting.
All three have been at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis since last week for problems caused by muscle breakdown, according to WTVA-TV.
“We do have three kids. And they are in satisfactory condition. I can’t get into details of what they’re being treated for,” hospital spokeswoman Sara Burnett said Tuesday.
Thirteen-year-old Baylee Senter was diagnosed with the condition, which is called rhabdomyolysis, his parents, Chris and Stephanie Senter, told the station.
“There’s a lot of misinformation out there,” Itawamba County School District Superintendent Michael Nanney said, but he wouldn’t tell The Associated Press what was incorrect or correct.
“We’re not making any comments until the children are back at their homes safely. That’s all we’re worried about now — just getting them back,” he said.
Exercise past an athlete’s ability can bring on rhabdomyolysis, and repeated jumps and squats put a heavier load on leg muscles than running does, said National Athletic Trainers Association board member Paul Ullucci, of Providence, R.I.
“What you have is people doing so much exercise and using muscles so much that the muscle begins to break down,” he said. Early symptoms are a dull ache that gets worse rather than better with rest. As proteins released by the muscle cells begin to clog the kidneys, urine turns brown, “like a cola color.”
All three boys had tried out Aug. 12 for the basketball team, the station reported.
Baylee said that after an hour of lower-body workouts, “My legs were trying to give out on me. If I tried to bend or squat, my legs would give out, and I would fall over.”
He returned to school Aug. 13, but toward the end of the school day he could hardly walk, sit or stand. A relative checked him out of school.
“He decided to use the rest room first, and that’s when we saw he had urine as dark as coffee,” Chris Senter said.
Emergency room doctors at North Mississippi Medical Center sent Baylee on to Le Bonheur by ambulance.
His legs were so swollen that he couldn’t get out of bed and his kidneys were down to 30 percent of normal function, his parents said.
Ullucci said exercise-induced rhabdomyolysis is often, though by no means exclusively, seen at tryouts or during early conditioning work.
“The kids have not necessarily been going through a program before, and coaches are not familiar with them. Kids are trying to compete, to get on the team. Coaches are trying to see what they can do. They do too much,” he said.
Ullucci said the treatment for rhabdomyolysis is generally intravenous fluid to reduce the concentration of protein in the blood, some medicines also given intravenously and lots of rest.