Heat Policy? This is not your Father’s Chicago Bears Team


I am probably dating myself when I say that I remember when players were deprived of water during football practice.  I may have participated in a few of those back in the day.   This is not your father’s Chicago Bears team.  The Bears, along with coaches and training staffs at all levels, have wised up and stress the importance of hydration during practices.  Those are multi-million dollar investments running around in that heat and humidity after all.

It’s been a hot a humid summer, but thanks to a Facebook post from Fox Chicago meteorologist Amy Freeze and her Q&A with Bears head athletic trainer Tim Bream, we get some insight into the Bears’ Heat Policy after the jump.  Yes, the Bears have a heat policy.

Chicago Bears Heat Policy

Preparation

· Player’s specific gravity of their urine is monitored as an indicator for dehydration

•The players begin their off season conditioning program in early April. The program centers around lifting, running and sport specific drills fo rtheir position to physically prepare for training camp and regular season.

• All players practice in light t-shirts (dry fit) that do not hold water. This allows the body to cool easier.

•The team’s athletic training and strength and conditioning staffs act proactively with athletes who might be predisposed to having heat illness.  These athletes are specifically monitored before, during, and after practice.

Education

• The head athletic trainer and Strength and conditioning coach speak with the team about the importance of good nutrition and its effects on their bodies. All meals at Halas Hall and Training camp are designed to assist the players in acclimatizing to the heat and to keep their energy stores high.

• At the start of Mini-camp and training camp in the team first meeting, Tim Bream and Rusty Jones speak to the team about the keys to avoiding dehydration.

• The team’s athletic training staff has constant reminders to players on the importance of hydration. Posters with heat related information are placed at a clearly visible level above all urinals and toilets in the locker room and dormitory as well as in other locations in the cafeteria and dormitory halls and meeting areas.

Adaptation

• The team will adjust practice times to earlier in the morning or evening in order to avoid the hottest periods of the day if indicated.

• During practice the team’s athletic training staff takes temperature and humidity readings on the field every 15 minutes.

• When the heat index rises above roughly 95, designated on-field break periods are scheduled into practice to allow the players to reduce their heart rate and drink water and Gatorade.

• During designated break times, players are provided with cold sponges and towels that have been saturated with ice water. Players are encouraged to remove there helmets when they are not in a drill.

Hydration

• Gatorade is always available to the players in unlimited quantities.

• During training camp, a case of Gatorade is placed in each player’s room and replenished frequently. Each player has a 6-pack of Gatorade in his room for every road game throughout the season.

• There are coolers in each meeting room, the locker room and the dorm that contain bottled water and Gatorade.

· Gatorlytes are added to Gatorade to provide extra salt for the players during extreme heat.

· Salty and High carbohydrate snacks are provided and our readily available.

· A weight chart is kept to monitor player’s fluid losses.

That’s pretty extensive.  I thought it was interesting to get some behind the scenes insight into the level of detail that the Bears put into the preparation and keeping our favorite players at their best.  For Amy’s Q&A with Bream, be sure to check out her post.  Thanks for sharing Amy!

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Tags: Bear Heat Policy Tim Bream