Texas teen gets deadly illness from exercising too much

Posted at 2:04 PM, Jun 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-02 15:07:20-04

HOUSTON (KTRK/CNN) -- Many people experience muscle pain and soreness a day or two after an intense gym session.

But one Texas teen says his workout landed him in the hospital with a potentially deadly illness. 

Jared Shamburger, 17,  just got a new gym membership with his family. His dad and older brother have been lifting weights for years.

"I gotta catch up to them and get as big as them. I have to go hard fast," he said.

However, after an intense arm workout last week the soreness and swelling weren't going away.

“The farthest I could move was like to here, and I was like this is not right,” Shamburger said.

Jared's mom, Judy, searched the symptoms online. She says she knows that can sometimes cause more harm than good but this time it paid off.

"The mama bear in me kind of took over and I called the pediatrician and said, I really think my son has rhabdo,” she said.

She was right. Jared was hospitalized for five days with rhabdomyolysis.  It can be caused by many things including injury, infection and hitting the gym too hard. The illness causes a breakdown of muscle tissue, releasing a damaging protein into the blood, possibly damaging the kidneys.

"In extreme cases, it can also cause death,” Shamburger said.

Jared is expected to make a full recovery. He says he plans to get back in the gym soon, but his family hopes others will be aware-- muscle pain, weakness and severe swelling after intense exercise may warrant a trip to the doctor.

"If he hadn't caught it, if he hadn't told me, if we had just gone out of town about our way, I can't even imagine - and I don't want to - about what could have happened," Judy Shamburger said.

Rhabdomyolysis can also be caused by a fall or auto accident. It can also be the result of a viral or bacterial infection.

Early diagnosis and treatment can lead to successful treatment

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