Rhabdomyolysis in Athletes


We are well aware that now more than ever, youth athletes are training harder and longer to be the best they can be. These kids are training year round for one or multiple sports and often don’t get a true “off-season”. The key is to train smart and remain healthy. With that being said, today we want to explore a condition that has been making headlines the past few years called Rhabdomyolysis.

Rhabdomyolysis sounds pretty daunting and this rare medical condition is just that. But what exactly is it? And, who does it affect? How can we recover from it and better yet, how can be sure to avoid it?

Rhabdomyolysis is brought on by damage or injury to muscle(s) that can be the result of an intense workout. Where Rhabdomyolysis is concerned, muscle tissue breaks down rapidly and products of muscular breakdown are released into the blood. One of the products released into the bloodstream during muscular breakdown is known as myoglobin. Myoglobin can be harmful to the kidneys and eventually, can cause kidney failure.

This condition is usually the result of an athlete participating in an exercise or workout that he or she is not used to, or when an intense exercise is done consistently without adequate recovery or down time in between. Naturally, dehydration can also be an added factor in the onset of “Rhabdo”.

Notable symptoms of Rhabdomyolysis include the classic triad: muscle pain, muscle weakness/soreness, and dark-colored urine much like the color of Coca Cola. It is important to seek medical attention immediately if you or your young athlete notice any of these symptoms.  Unfortunately, this condition can also be asymptomatic, meaning there are no noticeable symptoms.

Rhabdomyolysis is usually treated with the help of medical professionals through rehydration with the use of saline and rest. Fortunately, the prognosis for those who are unlucky enough to encounter Rhabdomyolysis is good. Return to play often occurs a few weeks after treatment but sometimes longer, depending on the severity of the athlete’s condition.

Rhabdomyolysis has been more commonly known to afflict adults participating in military training, excessive weightlifting and long distance running. Rare cases of Rhabdomyolysis found in the pediatric population are often due to strenuous exercise or overexertion.

Unfortunately, Rhabdomyolysis can develop in conditioned athletes under the supervision of a coach and can also develop when an athlete is perfectly hydrated. To prevent this condition, it is strongly advised that coaches, trainers and parents alike pay attention to their athletes; we must pay close attention to the intensity of each workout and how well the athlete has recovered since his or her previous exercise session.


This condition can come on rapidly, so it is important to be keen to the athlete’s performance, whether or not the athlete complains of any unusual severe pain or soreness, and to  keep a watchful eye on your athlete in general.


Steps parents, trainers, coaches and young athletes can take to avoid this scary medical condition include: appropriate hydration during workouts, maintaining consistency in workouts, avoiding sudden intense workouts, allowing for proper recovery and rest in between workouts, and finally, taking active steps to prevent dehydration, especially when temps rise.


You can rest assured that DC Strength Ohio gives the utmost attention and care to each individual athlete we get the pleasure of working with. If you have any further questions or concerns about Rhabdomyolysis feel free to reach out to DC Strength Ohio at: 440-773-6498, or email us at info@dcstrengthohio.com. Visit our Facebook Page at www.facebook/com/dcstrengthohio.



  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4365849/
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMHT0024696/
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  4. http://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Abstract/2011/12000/Exertional_Rhabdomyolysis_in_an_Adolescent_Athlete.37.aspx
  5. http://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Abstract/2009/07000/
  6. https://www.nsca.com/education/articles/exertional-rhabdomyolysis-case-study-of-an-athlete/
  7. http://www.swedish.org/blog/2014/02/tips-for-keeping-young-athletes-safe-and-healthy