As teams around the National Football League (NFL) and schools across the country prepare for two-a-day preseason practices, The Gatorade Company will join forces with the NFL and the New Orleans Saints to lead the third annual "Beat the Heat" campaign aimed at educating parents and football coaches about the importance of hydration in order to keep athletes safe on the field during the annual summer sessions. This year's Gatorade Training Camp program, which includes donation days, youth clinics and a national media campaign, follows the very successful campaigns in 2006 and 2007 and is part of an ongoing effort by Gatorade, the NFL and the Saints to reduce the number of preventable heat-related injuries each year.
As part of this effort, Gatorade will oversee league-wide Gatorade Donation Days at training camp to raise money to further the awareness and educational efforts of the Kendrick Fincher Memorial Foundation (KFMF), which was founded by Mike and Rhonda Fincher in memory of their son, Kendrick, who succumbed to complications from heat stroke during the summer of 1995.
"When we created the Foundation, our primary goal was to make sure no parent would ever have to experience what we experienced with Kendrick, especially when heat-related illnesses are almost 100% preventable," said Rhonda Fincher. "It's so important for parents and coaches to pay extra attention to proper hydration awareness and cool down techniques to help ensure players stay safe on the field during hot summer practices. Gatorade and the NFL have been instrumental in getting the message out to a much greater audience."
The ongoing team effort between Gatorade, the NFL and the Saints is built on communicating heat-illness prevention and treatment techniques, including the key tools all teams need to defend against heat illness: education, preparation, proper hydration and a "cool pool" on the sidelines for cold water immersion to treat heatstroke.
"Heat-related illnesses need to be taken seriously at all levels," said Pepper Burruss, head athletic trainer for the Green Bay Packers. "Dangers caused by overexposure to high temperature and humidity are preventable if coaches and players know the early warning signs and stay cool and hydrated. Simple steps like allowing for acclimatization, adjusting the intensity of practice to environmental conditions and access to fluids, including properly formulated sports drinks like Gatorade, can make all the difference."
Research conducted by the Gatorade Sports Science Institute found that approximately 70 percent of high school football players show up to practices inadequately hydrated, placing them at great risk for heat illness and injuries. Further research indicated a simple hydration strategy could dramatically reduce this incidence of pre-practice dehydration and lower the risk for heat illness.
"Partnering with the National Football League, the Saints and the Kendrick Fincher Memorial Foundation is a great way to boost heat illness awareness among football players and coaches at all levels," said Jeff Urban, senior vice president of sports marketing for Gatorade. "Our goal is to leverage the resources all three organizations bring to the table to educate as many parents, coaches and players as possible, to help reduce the number of heat-related injuries that occur across the country."
In addition to the "Beat the Heat" initiative, the partnership will support and help boost awareness this summer about KFMF efforts to provide educational pamphlets to parents, coaches and players as well as to provide squeeze bottles to thousands of youth players across the country. For more information on the partnership and heat illness prevention, please visit www.nfl.com , www.kendrickfincher.org and www.gatorade.com.
The Gatorade brand is a division of PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP). The Gatorade hydration portfolio includes the nation's leading sports drink, Gatorade® Thirst Quencher, as well as Gatorade Tiger™, G2 and Propel Fit Water. Gatorade is backed by more than 40 years of research and is scientifically formulated and athletically proven to quench thirst, replace fluids and electrolytes, and provide carbohydrate energy to enhance athletic performance. Gatorade Tiger is a brand extension of Gatorade Thirst Quencher, providing the same carbohydrate energy to fuel muscles as Gatorade Thirst Quencher while containing 25 percent more electrolytes to advance fluid and electrolyte replacement. G2 is a low calorie, lifestyle beverage containing electrolytes. Propel Fit Water is a lightly flavored alternative to plain water with just 10 calories per eight ounce serving and essential vitamins. PepsiCo's overall hydration portfolio includes leadership products from the Gatorade portfolio as well as SoBe Life Water, Aquafina and Tropicana. No other beverage company helps quench thirst on more occasions and in more great-tasting ways. For more information, please visit www.gatorade.com and www.pepsico.com.