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Saffold opens up about brush with exercise-induced death

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Wednesday’s one-liners mentioned Rams tackle Rodger Saffold’s effort to recover from a pectoral injury.  Several years ago, he almost suffered an injury from which there’s no recovery.

Saffold tells Kathleen Nelson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that, between his sophomore and junior seasons at Indiana University, a training session nearly claimed Saffold’s life.

After an early-morning workout, he decided to run the bleachers at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington.  Eventually, he didn’t feel right.

“I had chest pains, which I thought were just part of being tired,” Saffold said.

A trainer checked Saffold, and the trainer determined that he was on the verge of cardiac arrest, based on fatigue, overexertion, and too many caffeine-laced energy drinks.  The trainer put Saffold immediately into a cold shower.

Saffold recently shared his experiences at a meeting of the National Athletic Trainers Association.

“It helps you understand how important it is for athletic trainers to have education to point out things that student athletes can’t see,” Saffold said.  “Sometimes an ache can be a broken bone.  [Trainers] have to know what you’re doing and tell the players how to take care of their body.  [Players] have to listen to your athletic trainers.”

Amen to that.  As preseason practices approach at every level of the sport, it’s important for all coaches, players, and trainers to remember that the long-term health and well-being of the players means so much more than whether or not they can prove that they know how to “suck it up.”

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8 Responses to “Saffold opens up about brush with exercise-induced death”
  1. jacobslatter says: Jul 4, 2012 3:29 PM

    The real lesson here is to hydrate with sports drinks that end in -ade or just plain water & avoid those trendy for a decade and a half now energy drinks.

  2. kayakattack says: Jul 4, 2012 4:39 PM

    What would ever posses someone to work out using energy drinks? Caffeine is bad for the heart and lungs in high intensity work outs and can actually counteract muscle building.. the tons of sugar doesn’t help either…

  3. savannahrose44 says: Jul 4, 2012 4:57 PM

    Moderate amounts of caffeine can be beneficial. In excessive amounts caffeine is a dangerous substance, especially when exercise is introduced to the equation. Stimulants and exertion don’t mix. If you need the extra B vitamins for energy take a regulated supplement, don’t rely on energy drinks that are not regulated for safety.

  4. bleedgreen says: Jul 4, 2012 5:06 PM

    Gotta echo the sentiment here. So called ‘Engergy Drinks’ are TERRIBLE for you. Powerade, Gatorade, Vitamin Water or just plain water. Thats all you should be drinking when working out/hydrating.

  5. mwindle1973 says: Jul 4, 2012 6:18 PM

    Good article! It’s a somewhat overlooked issue, that needs to be talked about more to increase awareness. It doesn’t just happen on the pro and college level. It happens at the high school level and lower as well. And you see deaths at that level too. Not saying that all or any are energy drink related. Just exercise induced. You’d be surprised how many athletes at any level use some kind of stimulant. Whether it be energy drinks, caffeine capsules, amphetamines, or herbal stimulants. It’s very common. This is another area where players learn a behavior at a young age and it slides right through the cracks. Then it’s hard to get through to them once they’ve been doing it so long. Education needs to begin at the lowest levels. When you learn to block and tackle, you should also be learning what and what not to do to your body while training for and playing the game. They need to learn at a young age to equate this stuff as being life threatening. So there is no disconnect that will later make a person feel somehow outside of normal consequences.

  6. trevor123698 says: Jul 4, 2012 10:37 PM

    “The real lesson here is to hydrate with sports drinks that end in -ade”

    LOL you know absolutely nothing about the contents of the sports drinks that end in -ade. Tea is actually probably your best bet for hydration. Tea with salt.

  7. trevor123698 says: Jul 4, 2012 10:41 PM

    “Powerade, Gatorade, Vitamin Water or just plain water.”

    Since when does drinking high fructose corn syrup qualify as something you should drink during athletic endeavors? Since people became retarded I guess

  8. bdoyle87 says: Jul 5, 2012 5:54 AM

    Tea is a diuretic, meaning it increases the rate at which our bodies lose water. So no, that would not be your best bet for hydrating, trevor123698.

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