NFL players help boost awareness about how athletes
can stay safe and on the field this summer
CHICAGO -- To help keep athletes safe and performing at their best during the hot summer months, The Gatorade Company, a division of PepsiCo, has once again joined forces with the NFL to educate athletes, parents and coaches about heat-related illness and the importance of proper hydration and nutrition before, during and after practices and games. As part of the 2011 Beat the Heat program, NFL players will lead hydration awareness efforts and drive parents and coaches toward educational materials designed to keep athletes safe and on the field during the grueling summer two-a-day season.
"What athletes, parents and coaches need to know is that heat-related illnesses are largely preventable," said Douglas Casa, Ph.D., Chief Operating Officer of the Korey Stringer Institute (KSI), which is housed at the University of Connecticut. "The Beat the Heat program aims to raise awareness about this issue and provide educational resources to optimize the prevention, recognition, and treatment of heat-related illness during the summer practice season."
Beat the Heat is an annual collaboration between Gatorade, the NFL and partner organizations like KSI and the Kendrick Fincher Memorial Foundation (KFMF), which are dedicated to preventing heat-related illnesses by communicating prevention and treatment techniques. The organizations have collaborated to create and distribute the Gatorade Heat Safety Kit, an educational resource for athletes, parents and coaches which beginning in July can be downloaded at no cost from the NFL's official Web site at www.nfl.com/trainingcamp. For every unique download of the Gatorade Heat Safety Kit, Gatorade will donate G Series products to sports programs to help young athletes stay hydrated and fueled during intense heat.
The Korey Stringer Institute is named for the late NFL player Korey Stringer, who died of complications after an exertional heat stroke that occurred during football practice. The institute, created with the support of the NFL and Gatorade, is the result of a collaboration between Casa, a noted exertional heat stroke expert, and Korey's widow, Kelci Stringer. The Kendrick Fincher Memorial Foundation was founded by Mike and Rhonda Fincher in memory of their son Kendrick, an Arkansas teenage football player who succumbed to complications from heat stroke during the summer of 1995.
"The Beat the Heat program unites a number of outstanding organizations whose goal is to reduce the number of heat-related injuries by engaging parents, coaches and players," said John Shea, director of sports and event marketing for Gatorade. "Our shared commitment is a great way to educate on how to prevent heat related tragedies nationwide."
Research conducted by the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI) found that as many as 70 percent of high school football players could show up for practice inadequately hydrated. The recommendation of drinking fluids prior to practice increased the number of players appearing to be adequately hydrated upon arrival to practice. Scientific research has shown dehydration or poor hydration increases the risk for heat illness.