As teams in the National Football League, college and high school prepare for the beginning of their seasons, more coaches are using ingestible thermometers to monitor their players’ temperatures and protect them from heatstroke.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Minnesota Vikings are using the CorTemp pill, a silicone-coated transmitter that players swallow and that enables coaches to monitor body temperature.
Manufactured by HQ Incorporated, it stays in the body for up to 30 hours. Coaches can monitor the temperatures of dozens of players from a receiver nearby and make sure they don’t overheat.
Three professional football teams and more than 20 college teams are using the CorTemp pill.
The Vikings began taking more measures to ensure their players’ safety during summer practice sessions — like using CorTemp — after offensive tackle Korey Stringer died in August 2001 following complications from heatstroke.
Many teams are also keeping cool pools or tubs of ice near the playing fields in case people need to bring their temperatures down quickly.
Tragedy at a High School Practice
Still, despite the heat warnings, one high school outside Atlanta is grieving a football player.
Practice sessions at Rockdale County High School near Atlanta were cancelled following the death of 15-year-old Tyler Davis on Tuesday.
Davis collapsed from heatstroke after a workout. He and his teammates did drills for more than an hour and half in temperatures that reached the mid-90s.
“It’s not every day you figure one of your friends would just die on you like that,” said Haikeem Stuart, Davis’ friend.
Three other young football players have died in the last month. Doctors say merely being outside in the heat can be risky.
“Even just sitting, think of it as an oven, you raise the temperature of the turkey you put in the oven, just by having heat,” said Dr. Randy Wexler of Ohio State University Medical Center.
Approximately 700 people die from the heat every year in the United States.
Overheating can cause body functions to break down. At body temperatures above 100.4, people suffer from heat exhaustion, which is characterized by nausea, headaches and confusion.
People are at risk for heatstroke, seizures, heart failure, and loss of consciousness at temperatures above 104.
Giving Heat Pill a Try
ABC News’ John Berman gave the CorTemp pill a try and then ran three miles in soupy, 90-degree New York City heat. In just 25 minutes, his temperature jumped to 102.12 degrees Fahrenheit.
It’s a good thing he stopped when he did. Men make up two out of every three heat-related deaths in the United States.
ABC News’ John Berman reported this story for “Good Morning America.”