Berkeley Teams Up with USF for Heat Study on Football Players
“The purpose of this study is to examine thermoregulatory hydration and perceptual responses of high school football players during preseason practices in a hot and humid environment,” said Rebecca Lopez, Associate Professor and Director of USF’s Post-Professional Graduate Athletic Training Program. Dr. Lopez, along with the athletic training staff at Berkeley, is conducting the study on 32 Berkeley football players for a 10-day period. The rigorous study requires the athletes to ingest a capsule hours before each practice to help researchers monitor body temperature, heart rate, sweat rate, fluid consumption and hydration, and perceptual measures (how they feel). The study will also determine the potential impact of multiple session days and extreme environmental conditions on the following days’ responses.
Dr. Lopez explained that although previous research has observed the thermoregulatory and perceptual responses of football players, no study to date has examined these measures with high school football players in a hot, humid environment like Florida. “Our outcomes regarding these observed physiological and perceptual responses to football practices in a hot, humid environment and the potential effect from the previous day’s heat exposure will help identify heat illness risks,” she added.
The results of this project will be used to improve current heat policies for high school athletes and reduce the risk of heat-related illness. These findings could impact prevention strategies used by athletic trainers and coaches during extreme environmental conditions. The results can also be used by athletic trainers and other healthcare professionals to modify existing heat safety policies at the state association level to help minimize the risk of heat illness in high school football players.
View recent media coverage on this exciting research taking place at Berkeley.
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