Study finds rhabdomyolysis common in military recruits - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Study finds rhabdomyolysis common in military recruits

IOWA CITY (KWWL) -- Talk to military personnel, and they'll tell you basic training is no walk in the park.

"Lots of pushups, situps, lots of running, and pretty much exercise routines building up of those three events," said Col. Lenn Kerr, State Surgeon of the Iowa National Guard.

Factor the strenuous workout with heavy gear and high temperatures and it's a recipe for injury.

"Lots of dehydration, lots of heat injuries, which if you go by rhabdomyolysis by it self, those heat injuries are actually mild cases," Col. Kerr said.

A recent study conducted by doctors cite that 40% of a group of 337 military recruits had myoglobin in their urine during early training phases, which is evidence of lesser degrees of the medical disorder.

Col. Kerr says in his close to 30 years in the military, however, he can't recall any cases of rhabdomyolysis that's forced a soldier to be admitted to the hospital.

"The mild forms of rhabdomyolysis we see as heat injuries, we treat and put back into activity because they have no harm."

Colonel Kerr says training personnel are continuously monitoring hydration levels, the heat index and humidity levels.

Even so, he does remember a time when a large group of soldiers were injured due to strenuous workouts in extreme heat.

"We had 15 different heat casualties, when we were training in Ft. Irwin, California in our chemical protective gear."

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