After a University of South Florida student-athlete died from a routine workout a little less than a month ago, the FAMU athletic department is taking proper conditioning more seriously.
According to the Tampa Tribune, Keeley Dorsey, a running back for USF’s football team, died after a heart attack following a routine conditioning workout.
With this tragedy happening in the state of Florida, FAMU’s athletic department is stressing the importance of staying properly hydrated while playing sports.
“It is important for athletes to stay aware of what’s going on with their bodies,” said Maciel Malone, FAMU’s women’s track and field coach.
Malone said athletes should carry a water bottle with them at all times and constantly refill it throughout the day.
Athletes should adhere to the 1-to-1 ratio technique, which she said is drinking a bottle of water followed by a bottle of Gatorade.
“Water can deplete the body of its minerals,” Malone said, “so drinking a bottle of Gatorade can replenish the body and keep it healthy and hydrated.”
To ensure her players are always well-hydrated, Malone said she gives her players 10-minute breaks to get water and cool down. In addition, she said all her players have a weekly day off so they can get their appropriate amount of rest.
“It is important to me that they all get their rest so they can perform well at their meets,” Malone said.
Sophomore business administration student Yolanda Baylor from Prince George’s County, Md., knows all too well about the importance of keeping the body hydrated.
As a member of the FAMU swim team, Baylor has to endure long hours of practice to prepare for swim meets.
Because she is already familiar with the rigorous swim schedule, Baylor tries to keep her body refreshed and ready to compete.
“I try to stay hydrated throughout the day,” she said, “so when it’s time to practice, I can be ready to go.”
Athletes must also stay properly conditioned to prevent the body from shutting down.
Baylor said the athletic department makes all athletes train with Titus on a regular basis. Titus, a personal training company contracted by FAMU, is responsible for keeping all sport athletes well-conditioned, she said.
“The personal trainers help to build my endurance and keep my body in shape,” Baylor said.
According to FAMU’s head athletic trainer, Akima Dina, all FAMU sports teams have an athletic trainer on site to address any issues that may arise with the athletes. Dina said onsite trainers help coaches tend to injuries more quickly and efficiently.
“If any issues come up with an athlete,” Dina said, “We (athletic trainers) immediately respond and tend to the athlete’s need.”
Dina also stressed the importance of communication between the athlete and the coach.
“Communication has to take place,” Dina said. “Athletes must speak up and tell the coach when they are not feeling well.”
Although most sports call for a heavy conditioning season, Dina said regular physicals, drinking water daily and healthy dieting can help the body stay healthy and hydrated.
More importantly, Dina said that athletes should know when their body has had enough.
“Athletes should always listen and pay attention to their bodies,” Dina said.
Baylor said has taken the necessary steps to get herself mentally and physically prepared for her next meet . She said she feels taking preventive measures will help her stay healthy and ready for game day.
“It is all about taking preventative measures. That way you can perform your best on game day.”