Take on Pirate Sports
From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
By Brian Bailey
Heat and hydration forging
men of steel
If working in the heat makes
you a better football team, then this East Carolina squad should be in good
shape come September.
Last week the squad worked out
on days that featured heat indexes of 108, 111 and 108 degrees.
Today’s forecast is calling
for actual temperatures in triple digits!
Some might say that it isn’t
safe to work out in those kinds of conditions. But it’s that heat that gets
players to the level of conditioning they’ll need for the season.
East Carolina is blessed to
have a class act like Mike Hanley as the school’s head trainer. Hanley is as
good of a person as he is a trainer, and he takes ever precaution with the
“One of the things that we try
to do is educate them,” Hanley said recently. “They know that if they don’t
work out in the summer and they are not lifting and they are not getting in
shape, then when practice does start in August there is no way they are
going to be able to stay up with the rest of the team.”
Workouts for all college teams
are considered voluntary. Still, athletes know that it’s the summer heat
that defines them as athletes when the season rolls around.
“The heat is so oppressive in
August,” Hanley continued. “Plus, they’ll put the equipment on which will
raise their body temperature even more. They’ll have to have that period of
acclimatization to get used to everything.”
Keeping a player's fluid
balance in safe territory is a big factor in averting heat related
accidents. Hanley says it's all about promoting the intake of liquids
before, during and after workouts.
“The main thing that prevents
heat problems is proper hydration and if you wait until you start to
exercise before you start to drink, it’s too late. Thirst is a terrible
indication of when it’s time to drink,” Hanley explained.
“By the time you start to feel
thirsty, you’ve already lost a percentage of your body weight. Those are the
types of things that lead the body temperature up, which create problems in
the first place."
Hanley says indoctrinating the
players about the science of adequate fluid intake is the key. They must
know what to do to stay hydrated, and just like in a real game, they have to
execute the game plan.
“One of the things that we try
to do is to really educate our players on hydrating during the day, so by
the time they come here, they’ve already taken a significant amount of
fluids," Hanley said. "They’ll continue to drink when they work out, and
they’ll continue to drink when they leave.”
East Carolina uses a simple
formula to help the athletes understand how to stay hydrated.
The athletes are instructed to
keep an eye on their body weight. They are to drink 20 fluid ounces for each
pound of body weight that they lose during any workout session.
“That gives them a guideline
to just how much fluid they should be taking in,” Hanley said.
While the workouts are
voluntary, Hanley says that the expectations of their peers convinces most
if not all of the athletes to work hard before the season.
“I think there is pressure
from their teammates because I think one of the things they work on this
time of the year is team unity issues and everybody working together,”
Hanley wrapped up with this
observation: “The hard work they’re putting in now is going to pay off in
the long run. This is the time of year that you lay the foundation for what
you’re going to do in August.”
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