Athletes, firefighters, soldiers and astronauts are all subject to Heat Injury. The human body cools itself by producing perspiration (sweat) but if the temperatures are too hot, or the body is under extreme load, the body’s ability to manage heat becomes overloaded. Heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke and lead to brain damage or death.
In football, heat exhaustion is a dangerous reality. Football players take the field for preseason training during the dog days of summer, frequently in full pads, when the heat index can easily exceed 100 °F. Even players in top shape can be at high risk if they sweat out fluids without properly replenishing.
Scientists at NASA and Johns Hopkins University developed an ingestible pill to monitor the core body temperature of astronauts during space flight. Once ingested, the quartz crystal transmits a harmless, low-frequency signal through the body. This signal can then be retrieved by a recorder, outside of the body, that displays the core body temperature. (It will remain in an individual’s system for 18 to 30 hours, before passing safely.)
NFL football teams are using the CorTemp technology to monitor their players. They are also evaluating headbands (with embedded thermometers) to determine if they can provide the same type of information. If successful, this would make the technology more affordable for high school and college athletic programs.
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