How are NFL teams handling the heat wave at training camps?
As all 32 NFL teams approach the end of their first week in training camps, we take a look at how they handle heat at their ramp-up period
Generally, NFL teams equip themselves physically for their season during their ramp-up periods that require handling great heat, managing elements and staying in their best shape.
This year especially, where excessive heat is pummeling the US, and much of the world, much attention is directed toward keeping these players safe and guarded under the bursting sun at training camps.
You gotta respect the ramp-up period
NFL players go into training camps knowing that they have to learn how to manage the heat index and follow all the protocols religiously to restrain from heat illnesses or heat-related issues.
The first three to five days are usually when players’ bodies get their first shocking reactions to the heat, but once they make it through those days, their bodies are “acclimated and prepared to take on the heat,” according to Reggie Scott, the Los Angeles Rams’ vice president of sports medicine and performance.
Several water breaks, cool-down tents and cutting back on practice times when needed are all necessary actions in the ramp-up period.
Additionally, performance and physical measurement collected and analyzed by computerized devices has become routine for NFL players at training camp, which greatly aids in keeping the players out of the danger zone.
And because heat-related stress is a big subtance of extreme heat, the medical staff present at camps always keep an eye on their players. These individuals are trained to react when a player is dizzy, cramping, confused or nauseous, with an emergency action plan.
How can NFL players prepare ahead of hot training camps?
Just like the medical staff and the coaches have a responsibility of taking care of their players, so do those big boys themselves.
The more a player is physically prepared ahead of these camps, the more they’re able to adapt to the tough conditions. A good level of fitness allows players “to acclimatize to the heat a little more efficiently,” as John Norwig, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ head athletic trainer said.
Not to mention that players have to stay properly hydrated at all times, of course. Practicing without their leggings and taking helmets off whenever taking a break are also ways of allowing sweat to evaporate, helping the body to better adapt.