Teams playing in the heat need to control body core temperature of players

USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday, the Bills saw numerous players deal with a variety of heat-related conditions. It’s a common reality of playing in places like Miami in months like September at kickoff times like 1:00 p.m. ET. In this specific game, it seemed all too common for players to be dealing with issues arising from the heat.

During the CBS broadcast of the game, Bills coach Sean McDermott as quoted as saying, “Listen, we can educate the guys, but they’ve got to take some professionalism, and they’ve got to take responsibility and ownership in making sure they’re hydrated all week.”

Is it a case of players not doing enough to hydrate? NBC Sports Medicine Analyst Mike Ryan, who spent 26 years as an NFL athletic trainer and physical therapist, shared some thoughts with me by phone earlier today. Ryan said that, although it can be for some players an issue of proper hydration and nutrition, every player has different factors that influence the extent to which his body processes and reacts to heat.

The key, per Ryan, is to minimize the body core temperature of every player. That includes utilizing temporary and portable devices for creating shade (fixed structures are prohibited, because they impede sight lines), soaking sponges in cold water and applying those sponges to the bodies of players on the sidelines, and even filling helmets with ice water while the players are not on the field.

“Korey Stringer did not pass away because of muscle cramps,” Ryan said, regarding the Vikings tackle who died after becoming overheated at a training-camp practice in 2001. “Korey died from an uncontrolled elevation of his body core temperature. Prioritizing body core cooling is always the focus of NFL athletic trainers.”

It’s harder for the road team in a hot, sunny environment. The home team’s players are acclimated to the heat and humidity. Also, the home team typically chooses to wear white jerseys — forcing the road team to wear dark jerseys that absorb sunlight and preserve heat.

In Miami, the stadium is constructed to keep the visiting team’s sideline in the sun for as long as possible During Sunday’s game, Miami’s sideline was shaded. Buffalo’s was in direct sunlight.

It’s unknown at this point specifically what the Bills did to keep the body core temperature of their players as low as possible. (The Bills were using devices to shade players when not in the game.) Maybe, on a day like yesterday, nothing would have made much of a difference for players who came from Buffalo to play on a day when the ambient temperature was 89 degrees, with surely a much higher temperature on the field in the sun.

Regardless, the conditions gave the Dolphins a very real home-field advantage. In a close game, it may have been the difference between winning and losing.

17 responses to “Teams playing in the heat need to control body core temperature of players

  1. interesting, the Packers didn’t seem to have much trouble in Tampa, but the home team struggled mightily

  2. Maybe tell Tampa Bay to turn on the AC in the visitors locker room, that is something that isn’t being discussed either

  3. Heat has always been around since the dawn of time. Let’s stop making non stories out of everything that involves the Bills. They lost….move on.

  4. Miami only recently installed a roof on their stadium. Giving their team shade and the away team is left to roast.

    NFL should allow teams to use fixed tents to provide shade in these more extreme conditions. Bills were down 11 players at some point in the game.

  5. That’s OK.
    When the Dolphins visit Buffalo there won’t be any heaters on the visitors sidelines.

  6. The dolphins stadium has been l like that since 2015 the bills player looked like hungover people that go out in the heat the next day. The roof with the damaged on the dolphins side hasn’t been a problem for the last 7 years. And the stadium without the roof gave the dolphins shade by the third quarter while the visitors stayed in the sun it has been like that since the dolphins moved in

  7. The dolphins stadium has been like that since 2015 the bills players looked like hungover people that go out in the heat the next day. The roof with the shade on the dolphins side hasn’t been a problem for the last 7 years. And the stadium without the roof gave the dolphins shade by the third quarter while the visitors stayed in the sun it has been like that since the dolphins moved in (1987)

  8. I’ve never heard a team blame whether for a loss until yesterday, the Bills are soft.
    Did the Cowboys ever complain about frigid temperatures for losing the ice bowl?
    NO!

  9. Many years, New England brought out a snow plow to clear a spot for their kicker, against the Dolphins, in frigid New England weather. New England won with that field goal, 3-0.

    Weather happens. The Bills had portable shade canopies on Sunday. Josh Allen was seen resting under one.

    Now it’s onto Cincinnati with the Phins. The Bills can dwell on it and make excuses all they want. See ya on week 15, Miami’s only going to get better. 🙂

  10. patriotsivan says:
    September 26, 2022 at 6:55 pm
    The rematch in Buffalo is going to be 56 to 10. Bills win. Kudos to Miami for this win.
    —————————————————————-
    Patriots 1-2 and at the bottom of the AFC East

  11. chino62885 says:
    September 26, 2022 at 6:45 pm
    Heat has always been around since the dawn of time. Let’s stop making non stories out of everything that involves the Bills. They lost….move on.

    I for one are more than happy to dwell on the miami victory rather than moving on.

    The focus of the article is on the visiting team but miami were also affected by the heat but maybe lesser so but face a short week with a visit to the bengals – shouldn’t they get adequate recovery time?

  12. Really wish Bills fans would stop crying. It’s one loss and it’s not like they even got dominated. The heat affected both teams; Bills just had the sun on their sideline, so they needed extra cooling stations and had to bring their own tents. I’m sure the Bills will win the rematch and end up with the #1 seed in the AFC, just stop complaining about the heat and your injured secondary.

  13. The Dolphins outlasted the Ravens in Baltimore last week , the Ravens were gassed in the 4th quarter .

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.