CHICAGO, Aug. 1 As teams around the National FootballLeague (NFL) and schools across the country prepare for two-a-day preseasonpractices, The Gatorade Company will join forces with the NFL to lead thethird annual "Beat the Heat" campaign aimed at educating parents and footballcoaches about the importance of hydration in order to keep athletes safe onthe field during the annual summer sessions. This year's Gatorade TrainingCamp program, which includes donation days, youth clinics and a national mediacampaign, follows the very successful campaigns of 2006 and 2007 and is partof an ongoing effort by Gatorade and the NFL to reduce the number ofpreventable heat-related injuries each year.
As part of this effort, Gatorade will oversee league-wide GatoradeDonation Days at training camp to raise money to further the awareness andeducational efforts of the Kendrick Fincher Memorial Foundation (KFMF), whichwas founded by Mike and Rhonda Fincher in memory of their son, Kendrick, whosuccumbed to complications from heat stroke during the summer of 1995.
"When we created the Foundation, our primary goal was to make sure noparent would ever have to experience what we experienced with Kendrick,especially when heat-related illnesses are almost 100% preventable," saidRhonda Fincher. "It's so important for parents and coaches to pay extraattention to proper hydration awareness and cool down techniques to helpensure players stay safe on the field during hot summer practices. Gatoradeand the NFL have been instrumental in getting the message out to a muchgreater audience."
The ongoing team effort between Gatorade and the NFL is built oncommunicating heat-illness prevention and treatment techniques, including thekey tools all teams need to defend against heat illness: education,preparation, proper hydration and a "cool pool" on the sidelines for coldwater immersion to treat heatstroke.
"Heat-related illnesses need to be taken seriously at all levels," saidPepper Burruss, head athletic trainer for the Green Bay Packers. "Dangerscaused by overexposure to high temperature and humidity are preventable ifcoaches and players know the early warning signs and stay cool and hydrated.Simple steps like allowing for acclimatization, adjusting the intensity ofpractice to environmental conditions and access to fluids, including properlyformulated sports drinks like Gatorade, can make all the difference."
Research conducted by the Gatorade Sports Science Institute found thatapproximately 70 percent of high school football players show up to practicessignificantly dehydrated, placing them at great risk for heat illness andinjuries. Further research indicated a simple hydration strategy coulddramatically reduce this incidence of pre-practice dehydration and lower therisk for heat illness.
"Partnering with the National Football League and the Kendrick FincherMemorial Foundation is a great way to boost heat illness awareness amongfootball players and coaches at all levels," said Jeff Urban, senior vicepresident of sports marketing for Gatorade. "Our goal is to leverage theresources all three organizations bring to the table to educate as manyparents, coaches and players as possible, to help reduce the number ofheat-related injuries that occur across the country."
In addition to the "Beat the Heat" initiative, the partnership willsupport and help boost awareness this summer about KFMF efforts to provideeducational pamphlets to parents, coaches and players as well as to providesqueeze bottles to thousands of youth players across the country. For moreinformation on the partnership and heat illness prevention, please visithttp://www.nfl.com, http://www.kendrickfincher.org andhttp://www.gatorade.com.
The Gatorade brand is a division of PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP). The Gatoradehydration portfolio includes the nation's lead