Since 1995, more than 35 youth players have died due to heat related illness. But it wasn’t until Korey Stringer’s death in 2001 that people started to really pay attention to the issue.
In conjunction with NFL players and coaches, Gatorade is spreading the word this summer with the Beat the Heat program. The program is designed to educate people about what treatment techniques should be used and what they can do to prevent heat related illness.
We talked to Jacksonville stud running back Maurice Jones-Drew about the issue. As somebody who has trained in the warm weather of both California and Florida, he’s more than aware of the consequences of not hydrating when you’re working out. He also filled us in on where he thinks he should be picked in your upcoming fantasy draft and how to handle a hangover.
Guyism: When you were in high school/college, obviously the awareness of heat related injuries wasn’t as prominent as it is today. Were you ever in a situation where a coach denied you or your teammates of hydration? If so, how did you react?
MJD: No, high school, 2nd year Korey Stringer passed away, this opened a ton of people’s eyes. Coaches were a lot less aware in Pop Warner, and would push things like, “Water makes you weak, fight the pain.” This was a horrible thing.
Guyism: How do you respond to people that say because of routine hydration breaks that players are not as tough as they used to be?
MJD: A lot of guys bodies are totally different, 60s/70s/80s, nowadays we’re a lot more oiled, and water and Gatorade does that, we need it to stay hydrated at the highest level of our bodies.
Guyism: If you had a kid playing football, or any outdoor sport, and the coach was being stingy with drink breaks, would you say something or is this something best left in the coaches’ hands?
MJD: I’d always say something. Not saying something is unrealistic, I don’t believe in making kids tough. Either they’re gonna be tough or they’re not; you can’t make someone what they’re not. I’ve been at games where the kids are dying, might need a water break or something. The coach will always listen. Sometimes a lot of coaches feel like they need to get so much stuff in, drills or finishing a play, they’re not worried about what’s happening with the players, in that moment. You need to speak up because [the coaches are] in the moment.
Guyism: A lot of our readers are degenerates..any advice for them on how to hydrate after a night at the clubs?
MJD: After drinking out at the club or something: [take] two Advil before going to bed and definitely drinking a bottle of water. I try and drink a bootle of water or Gatorade because you wake up with cotton mouth. Advil’s for the headache. In college, I read in a study that if you drink a bottle of water every morning you live longer. Drink a bottle in the morning gets all your organs and muscles going after you’ve sweat throughout the night.
Guyism: How many yards do you think you need to rush for this season to get your own flavor of Gatorade? And what flavor do you want?
MJD: *laughs…asks Gatorade rep* Still working on it, not too many more. I don’t know. I’d want cherry, red for sure, or blue. I just want the color. The blue, red or yellow.
Guyism: Does the Florida heat play an advantage or disadvantage for home games to start the season?
MJD: Advantage. More than anything, if you’re mentally tough — regardless of what weather you’re playing in — if you’re mentally tough, you’ll be fine. [The heat] helps [us] prepare to play in anything. You can run in the cold all day, it’s the heat that hurts you.
Guyism: Better place to train, Florida or California? Is there a best place to train?
MJD: California. Florida’s too flat, my training uses a lot of heel work…other than beaches Florida lacks a place for that. In the Bay area you’ve got hills and altitude close by in Tahoe, and trails.
Guyism: Give us the safe version of what Del Rio says after you fumble or miss a blocking assignment?
MJD: Usually the player takes it out on their self. I’m harder on myself than anyone else would be. We all try to strive for perfection. He’ll usually just say “don’t mess up again, don’t do it again.” But you’ve already told yourself 1000 times.
Guyism: After yourself who do you take first in your fantasy draft?
MJD: Chris Johnson or AP, with Chris he’s gonna run all day, with AP he’s gonna run all day but Brett Favre did so well last year.
Guyism: Favorite city to play in other than Jax?
MJD: Really, I love away games. Away games are great to hear the crowd booing you. But then when you do well, you silence them and it feels great.
Guyism: What do you think about the trend of small backs in NFL? Chris Johnson, Sproles, upcoming CJ Spiller?
MJD: The League’s on the rise where playmakers can come in all shapes and sizes. You don’t have to be the typical player build anymore, as long you make the plays.
Guyism: Favorite flavor of Gatorade?
MJD: Blue. I’m a blue man.