Gatorade, NFL Launch 'Beat The Heat' Campaign

NFL players and coaches join their wives in an effort to boost hydration awareness and raise charitable funds

To keep athletes safe and performing at their best during the hot summer months, The Gatorade Company, a division of PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP), has joined forces with the NFL to educate parents and coaches about heat-related illness and the importance of hydration. As part of the "Beat the Heat" program, NFL players, coaches and their wives will lead hydration awareness efforts, while raising funds for the Kendrick Fincher Memorial Foundation (KFMF).   

The KFMF 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 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 helping us raise funds and awareness to educate a much greater audience."

For every unique download of the Gatorade Heat Safety Kit on, Gatorade will donate $1, up to $25,000, to "Beat the Heat" charities.

"Gatorade's goal in partnering with the NFL and the Kendrick Fincher Memorial Foundation 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," said Scott Paddock, director of sports marketing for Gatorade.  "Our shared commitment is a great way to educate on how to prevent heat related tragedies nationwide."

The ongoing team effort between Gatorade and the NFL is built on communicating heat-illness prevention and treatment techniques, including the "4 Downs" of Heat Safety to athletes and parents and coaches of athletes who are playing or practicing in hot weather.

The "4 Downs" of Heat Safety
1st Down: Prevent - Know how to avoid heat illness, identify the warning signs and treat the symptoms

2nd Down:Prepare - Acclimate to the heat and hydrate BEFORE you get to practice

3rd  Down: Proper Hydration - Choose sports drinks like Gatorade to replace electrolytes, especially sodium lost in sweat

4th Down: Plan - Have an emergency plan and keep a cool pool nearby to immerse players suffering from heat stroke

"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 athletes stay cool and hydrated.  Simple steps like allowing for acclimatization to temperatures, adjusting the intensity of practice to environmental conditions and keeping the right types of fluids accessible, such as properly formulated sports drinks like Gatorade, can help athletes stay safe on the field and performing at their best."

Research conducted by the Gatorade Sports Science Institute found that as many as 70% of high school football players could show up for practice poorly hydrated.  The recommendation of drinking fluids prior to practice increased the number of players appearing to be adequately hydrated upon arrival to practice. Scientific research has shown that dehydration or poor hydration increases the risk for heat illness.

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