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5 basketball players for Concordia University Chicago hospitalized after "high-intensity" workout; coach temporarily removed

A suburban Chicago college postponed two men's basketball games after five players went to a hospital following a rigorous workout.

Concordia University Chicago in River Forest also has temporarily removed coach Steve Kollar, school spokesman Eric Matanyi said.

The last player was released from a hospital Saturday, he said. CBS Chicago identified that player as Jacob Collicott.

"It's been a long few days," Jacob's father, Ryan Collicott, told CBS Chicago Saturday. "He was, I guess, dehydrated. Plus, the muscles were breaking down and getting into his bloodstream, I guess."

Matanyi told The Associated Press that "the length of the hospital stays varied from several hours to several days."

Athletic director Pete Gnan sent a letter to parents Thursday, explaining what happened after a late December trip to California, where the team played two games. He said the team was put through a "particularly high-intensity, collegiate-level circuit training" on Dec. 31.

Circuit training generally refers to moving through exercise stations with little time for breaks.

Five players were admitted to a hospital between Monday and Wednesday, Gnan said.

He told parents that he learned that several players missed a night curfew during the California trip.

"It has been alleged by some that the intensity and difficulty of Saturday's practice was a direct consequence of the broken curfew earlier in the week ... The university continues to look into the matter and is also working to determine all factors that contributed to the student hospitalizations," Gnan said.

A person familiar with the situation told CBS Chicago that players may have suffered from conditions such as lactic acidosis and rhabdomyolysis, the latter of which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said can be caused by "physical exertion or overuse."

Rhabdomyolysis, which can damage the heart and kidneys, occurs when damaged muscle tissue releases proteins and electrolytes into the blood, according to the CDC.

"Usually, you see this sort of stuff in the marathon runners, the soccer players, sort of the endurance athletes," Dr. Christopher Hicks with Northwestern Medicine told CBS Chicago.

Gnan said Concordia has "zero tolerance for harassment or retaliatory actions of any kind."

The Division III Cougars, who are 8-2, postponed games that were scheduled for Saturday and last Tuesday.

All this comes after Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered an on-field cardiac arrest during a football game Monday night against the Cincinnati Bengals. Hamlin was administered CPR on the field by medical personnel before being loaded into an ambulance and rushed to the intensive care unit of a Cincinnati hospital, where he was sedated for several days. The Bills on Friday said he has shown significant improvement. A breathing tube was removed and he is now able to breath on his own and talk. 

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