On the football field, he's more explosive than semtex. Needless to say, Von Miller is no ordinary athlete. The Denver Broncos linebacker possesses a special blend of speed, size and athleticism, and he knows how to use it. Still, one critical weapon was missing from Miller's arsenal: proper fluid intake.
He's not the only one. Research conducted by the Gatorade Sports Science Institute found that as many as 70 percent of high school football players are showing up for practice inadequately hydrated, leaving them at risk for heat-related illness.
Miller is far removed from high school. After a stellar career at Texas A&M, he was the No. 2 overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft. But he fell into the class of players who were not sufficiently hydrated. "I sweat more than the average athlete," Miller says. "To stay hydrated and keep the salts and sodium in my body, I have to take in a lot of fluids, not just a day before the game, but days before the game."
Miller learned about his shortcoming while testing for the GSSI, and now he's leading efforts to spread hydration awareness as part of the "Beat the Heat" initiative.
"You've got to stay hydrated, especially during these hot summer months, because you're going to sweat a lot more than you usually would," he says. "When you're sweating, you need to put those fuels and fluids back into your body as soon as possible."
Miller's thirst-quenching quest helps him prevent cramping and avoid more severe illnesses, like heat exhaustion and heat stroke. He says, "With Gatorade, you've got the Before, During and After, making it easy to take the right products and supplements to get your body back to optimum shape."
"Beat the Heat " is an annual collaboration between Gatorade, the NFL and its many partner organizations, including the Korey Stringer Institute and the Kendrick Fincher Memorial Foundation. Gatorade's Heat Safety Kit includes educational resources from the GSSI, which are also available for free download at nfl.com/trainingcamp. For more information on heat illness prevention, visit nflhealthsafety.com.
See Miller's athleticism on display as he offers an exclusive look at his NFL Combine training in the video above.
Also, check out Miller and other rookies in the NFL series Everything to Prove.
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock