McMinnville players ‘shocked’ at downturn in health

McMinnville players ‘shocked’ at downturn in health

MCMINNVILE, Ore. - None of the McMinnville High School football players who landed in the hospital after practicing during a football camp has any idea what went wrong.

School officials don’t either after a total of 10 players were admitted to Willamette Valley Medical Center this week suffering from swollen triceps. Three of them underwent surgery and another three who were admitted Friday were given fluids.

The superintendent of McMinnville Schools, Maryalice Russell, said during a Friday afternoon news conference that she doesn’t believe the cause was because of the type of workouts the players were doing during a summertime practice camp known as “total immersion.”

In all, 34 students had blood drawn for testing.

Everyone says they are shocked at how quickly the situation turned into something serious.

Josh Nice and Jacob Montgomery were still in hospital beds recovering Friday and said they couldn’t believe how fast their health went downhill.

“I was just kind of shocked this was happening to us,” said Nice. “Like we were dropping like flies from practice.”

“One day my arm started hurting. Then it started swelling up and ten minutes before, or at the end of practice, I had to go to the hospital,” said Montgomery.

“It’s scary. Luckily he’s in good shape,” said Jacob’s father, Paul.

Paul Montgomery came to the hospital to visit his son hoping someone finds out what went wrong for so many kids all at once.

“It’d be kind of nice to figure out what it is,” he said. “I doubt very much it has anything to do with coaching.”

Doctors used emergency surgery to relieve pressure from what’s called ‘compartment syndrome’ – a buildup of fluid, in these cases, in their arms.

One substance tied to the syndrome is Creatine found in supplements.

The Journal of Athletic Training at the National Institutes of Health concluded: “… because of the intracellular fluid retention in the muscle cell … serious medical concerns may exist for individuals supplementing with CrM. (Creatine).”

The players denied taking supplements.

When football practice resumes at the home of the McMinnville Grizzlies, Russell said she’s considering a couple of changes.

One will be to have coaches call parents when students are sick or injured instead of students doing so.

And secondly, she may make it mandatory to put students on a schedule to drink fluids.

A hospital spokeswoman, Rosemary Davis, confirmed it is testing the players to see if anything they ingested, including Creatine, might be connected with the mass hospitalization.

So far she says there’s no evidence of any supplement use by any of those players.