CHICAGO, July 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- To help keep athletes safe and performing at their best during the hot summer months, The Gatorade Company, a division of PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP), has partnered with the NFL, NBA, and MLS for the Gatorade "Beat the Heat" program. This educational campaign aims to raise awareness among athletes, parents and coaches on the importance of consuming the right sports fuel before, during and after athletic activity to help reduce the risk of heat-related illnesses.
"What athletes, parents and coaches need to know is that heat-related illnesses are largely preventable," said Douglas Casa, Ph.D., chief operating officer of the Korey Stringer Institute (KSI), which is housed at the University of Connecticut. "The Beat the Heat program aims to raise awareness about this issue and provide educational resources to optimize the prevention, recognition and treatment of heat-related illness during the summer sports season."
Research conducted by the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI) found that as many as 70 percent of high school football players could show up for practice inadequately hydrated. Further studies reveal that electrolyte consumption via food or beverages can help athletes stay hydrated for longer. Athletes should know that consuming food or beverages that contain electrolytes within their normal fueling regimen may help them stay safe in the heat. Scientific research shows that dehydration or poor hydration increases the risk for heat illness.
"The Beat the Heat program unites a number of outstanding organizations who share the goal of reducing heat-related injuries by engaging parents, coaches and players to educate athletes on the importance of sports fuel when playing sports during the hot summer months," said John Shea, senior director, Gatorade sports marketing. "Our shared commitment is a great way to educate on how to prevent heat related tragedies nationwide."
As a part of the Beat the Heat efforts, the Gatorade Heat Safety Kit, an educational resource for athletes, parents and coaches, will be available for free download on nfl.com/trainingcamp, and mlssoccer.com. The Gatorade Heat Safety Kit includes educational resources from the Gatorade Sports Science Institute, as well as an explanation about the "4 Plays " of Heat Safety – Prevent, Prepare, Proper Fueling, Plan – which athletes, parents and coaches should consider before engaging in practice or other strenuous athletic activity in hot weather.
The Korey Stringer Institute is named for the late NFL player Korey Stringer, who died of complications after an exertional heat stroke that occurred during football practice. The institute, created with the support of the NFL and Gatorade, is the result of a partnership between Casa, a noted exertional heat stroke expert, and Korey's widow, Kelci Stringer. The Kendrick Fincher Memorial Foundation was founded by Mike and Rhonda Fincher in memory of their son Kendrick, an Arkansas teenage football player who succumbed to complications from heat stroke during the summer of 1995.
"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 access to foods and drinks that contain electrolytes to help retain and regulate fluids before, during and after practice or a game is very important."
About Gatorade The Gatorade Company, a division of PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP), provides sports performance innovations designed to meet the needs of athletes at all competitive levels and across a broad range of sports. Gatorade Thirst Quencher® 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. The company's product portfolio is built around the G Series™, a 1-2-3 approach to athlete nutrition and hydration before (Gatorade Prime 01™), during (Gatorade® Perform 02 and G2® Perform 02), and after (Gatorade Recover 03™) training or competition. For more information, please visit www.gatorade.com.
PepsiCo offers the world's largest portfolio of billion-dollar food and beverage brands, including 19 different product lines that each generates more than $1 billion in annual retail sales. Our main businesses - Frito-Lay, Quaker, Pepsi-Cola, Tropicana and Gatorade - also make hundreds of other nourishing, tasty foods and drinks that bring joy to our consumers in more than 200 countries. With annualized revenues of nearly $60 billion, PepsiCo's people are united by our unique commitment to sustainable growth, called Performance with Purpose. By dedicating ourselves to offering a broad array of choices for healthy, convenient and fun nourishment, reducing our environmental impact, and fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace culture, PepsiCo balances strong financial returns with giving back to our communities worldwide. In recognition of its continued sustainability efforts, PepsiCo was named for the third time to the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI World) and for the fourth time to the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index (DJSI North America) in 2009. For more information, please visit www.pepsico.com.
About Major League Soccer Headquartered in New York City, Major League Soccer is the top-flight professional soccer league in the United States and Canada. MLS features many stars from the U.S., Canada, and around the world. Major League Soccer's 17th season features 19 clubs each playing 34 regular-season matches. Those clubs include the Chicago Fire; Chivas USA; Colorado Rapids; Columbus Crew; D.C. United; FC Dallas; Houston Dynamo; 2011 MLS Cup champion LA Galaxy; New York Red Bulls; New England Revolution; Philadelphia Union; Portland Timbers; Real Salt Lake; San Jose Earthquakes; Seattle Sounders FC; Sporting Kansas City; Toronto FC; Vancouver Whitecaps FC; and, in their inaugural season, Montreal Impact. For more information about MLS, log on to the league's official website at www.MLSsoccer.com.
About the NBA The NBA is a global sports and media business that features three professional sports leagues: the National Basketball Association, the Women's National Basketball Association, and the NBA Development League. The league has established a major international presence, with offices in 15 markets worldwide, games and programming in 215 countries and territories in 47 languages, and NBA merchandise for sale in more than 125,000 stores in 100 countries on six continents. Current NBA rosters feature 78 international players from 39 countries and territories. The NBA's digital assets include NBA TV, which is available in nearly 60 million U.S. homes, and NBA.com, which averages more than 35 million page views per day, more than half of which originate from outside of North America. The NBA is the No. 1 professional sports league on social media, with more than 240 million fans and followers globally across all league, team, and player platforms. Through NBA Cares, the league and its teams and players have donated more than $190 million to charity, completed more than 1.9 million hours of hands-on community service, and created more than 700 places where kids and families can live, learn, or play.