Former UI football player settles rhabdo case

Lowe receives $15,000 pending final approval

Former Iowa football player Willie Lowe
Former Iowa football player Willie Lowe

IOWA CITY — Former University of Iowa football player Willie Lowe has settled a lawsuit against university officials for $15,000 after he contracted rhabdomyolysis following a strenuous off-season workout in January 2011.

Lowe, who left Iowa in 2012, was one of 13 football players hospitalized after the workout. The players did 100 back squats at half-weight of their one-repetition personal high. The players then reported dark, tea-colored urine and severe muscle soreness and swelling.

Exertional rhabdomyolysis is an exercise-induced muscle fiber breakdown that causes release of muscle elements into the bloodstream. Potential complications can include kidney failure, cardiac arrhythmia or even death. The football program since has discontinued the workout.

Lowe was the only player to file a lawsuit, which was scheduled for trial on Jan. 26, 2016. Lowe sat out the 2012 football season but played Division II football in 2013. He initially sought $200,000. The agreement must be approved by the governor’s executive council.

“The University is pleased to have resolved this matter by mutual agreement which is beneficial for all involved and brings the matter to a close,” the university said in a statement.

UI will not be responsible for attorney’s fees because it was a negligence claim, not a discrimination claim.

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