Cooling down to amp up

Design Example of the FAMU Boudreaux Recovery Center. Photo courtesy of Tallahassee Democrat


With football season quickly approaching, so is the sweltering summer heat.

Florida A&M University is keeping up with the latest technology by putting athlete health and safety at the top of its list this year.

The athletics program has invested in a Boudreaux Recovery Center to help keep players cool in the heat. Enduring long practices, challenging workouts, and games while wearing extra protective equipment can tremendously impact football players.

Exertional heat-related illness, or EHRI, described by the National Library of Medicine, can be triggered by any sports or exercise played in high temperature or humidity levels. Heat exhaustion can cause vomiting, dizziness, muscle cramps, fatigue and other issues.

Paul Boudreaux is the genius behind this life-changing technology. The Boudreaux Recovery Center is a 9×40 refrigerated shipping container. Multiple athletes will be able to go into the container for about 10-15 minutes, and their body temperatures should return to their normal range.

Denodri Clark is a first-year defensive end for the FAMU football team. Clark has mixed emotions about the new cooling center.

“It’s good because it will help us cool off on days we wouldn’t normally want to go out, and it’s much easier than an ice bath,” Clark said. “But I know this comes with hard work and no excuses of being tired or hot.”

Schools like LSU and Alabama have similar yet more top-shelf containers that keep players’ body temperatures regulated. The schools say the isolation in the box also helps players refocus on the game.

The Boudreaux Boxes seen at some larger schools retail at about $180,000, but that didn’t stop FAMU from protecting their student-athletes. With donations from boosters, alumni, the athletic department and the FAMU 220 Quarterback’s Club, the money was raised for the newest addition to the equipment team.

With the Center for Disease Control reporting that athletes are dying and disabled by heat-related illnesses in America, athletes need to keep their bodies healthy.

Vincent Williams, director of sports medicine and head athletic trainer with FAMU Athletics, thinks the Boudreaux Recovery Center will benefit players and shed more positive light on FAMU.

“This will put us on the cutting edge of science as it comes to heat-related illness and the precursors to it,” Williams said.” We will be the first [HBCU], which puts us on the map again.”

Athletes should keep themselves hydrated and drink fluids before, during, and after workouts. Replenishing electrolytes with Gatorade, fruits and other health supplements will help athletes continue to work their bodies at the highest levels as reported by the U.S. Anti Doping Agency.

With Fall right around the corner, the athletics program is making history as the first HBCU to upgrade to top-of-the-line equipment. FAMU football is ready to put health at its forefront and defend student-athletes from the heat all season long.