Two teenage girls were hospitalized after attempting too many squats during some sort of competitive squatting match that got out of hand.
We've covered a lot of weird medical cases over the years, like the man who lost feeling in his legs due to a colossal poop, and a different man who risked death by not pooping for 40 days, but we'll be honest even we were surprised by the story of two girls squatting themselves into intensive care.
Xiao Tang, a 19-year-old sophomore at a college in Chongqing, China, was not used to exercise. This, combined with an apparent competitive streak, led to her being hospitalized when she got into an exercise fight on a video chat with an equally competitive friend.
"This is too embarrassing to say. I was chatting with [my friend] in Guandong over the Internet," Xiao told China Press from the hospital. At some point, the two girls got into a squat contest to determine who had the most stamina.
"We both did not want to lose and so we kept trying to beat each other," she explained. Neither of them willing to back down and stop squatting first, they both ended up doing over 1,000 squats.
Just so we're all clear what a squat is. This absurd exercise is what hospitalized two teenagers.
After they both finally gave in after 2-3 hours of non-stop squats, they hung up, sore but unconcerned. They had just done an absurd amount of squatting, so a little soreness was not at all worrying to either of them. This, however, did not last long.
"Something was wrong in the morning," Xiao told China Press.
"First of all, my leg was not only sore, but I couldn't bend it. Then I went to the bathroom and [my] urine was brown."
She knew, as most people could hazard a guess, that this was not a great sign, and sought medical treatment.
In hospital, she was diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis, a serious condition caused by skeletal muscle injury. Dead muscle fibers – in this case, due to extreme levels of exercise – are released into the bloodstream, which can lead to serious complications such as kidney failure and death. Her body unable to remove waste, Xiao's urine became tea-colored.
Treatment of the syndrome usually involves administering large amounts of intravenous fluids to help maintain urine production and prevent kidney failure. Dialysis is also sometimes given to help filter waste while the patient recovers.
Thankfully, Xiao's case did not lead to renal failure, after she was rushed by doctors to a larger hospital to be treated in intensive care, where she was hooked up to an IV drip to recover. Weirdly, when she rang her friend from hospital she discovered she too had been hospitalized with the same condition.
Getting this condition through extreme exercise is rare, Dr Bruce Cohen, a medical officer for the FBI told Live Science, and squats aren't dangerous in and of themselves. The girls likely exerted themselves well above their physical limits in order to cause the condition.
"Listen to your body," he told Live Science. "Don't be stupid."