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Spiker has tips for hot weather

July 29, 2011

MORGANTOWN - Food as well as water and other liquids are important to student-athlete performing in extremely hot weather for football and other fall sports.

That's among the precautions urged by John Spiker, veteran coordinator of medical services for student-athletes at West Virginia University . He believes precautions against sun strokes are similar for high school and college football players.

"There is no limit on how much water to drink," he said. "But you probably need more than you will want to take in.

"You need to kind of force yourself to consume more water before the day starts, then constantly at the end of the day."

While water and other approved drinks are important, so are the electrolytes in Gatorade or Powerade and other sports drinks which have other things that are sweated out when you are sweating profusely.

Spiker continued, "For high school student-athletes, before they leave home in the morning they should remember that food also is extremely important. Sometimes people forget that.

"It's not just drinks; they still need to eat a good meal. They need to eat well because they're about to lose energy without food.

"So they need to eat well and, there again, typically more than they want in hot weather."

Spiker, who's in his 36th year with the WVU football program, said the Mountaineers have all of their meals in Puskar Center during fall football camp which opens Aug. 4. He added that at camp the gridders are not allowed to consume soft drinks or coffee.

"We just use water and the sports drinks," Spiker explained. "Soft drinks are not good because they have caffeine in them and that takes fluid away.

"Another thing is they're loaded with sugar. A soft drink isn't going to hurt you, but it's not what athletes should drink."

Spiker also suggests that high school athletes should be wearing loose-fitting clothes when they leave for football practice in the morning.

He also reemphasizes that youngsters also should remember to eat a good breakfast and drink plenty of water.

WVU coaches give their players five-minute breaks during practice. They also give the gridders popsicles.

"We do that because the popsicles are very cold, and those help the players cool off a little bit," Spiker concluded.

In addition to his WVU duties, Spiker also serves as president and CEO of Morgantown 's Health Works.



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