High-tech attention, chicken soup combat icy game

Sat Jan 4, 2014 4:05pm EST
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By Larry Fine

(Reuters) - High-tech equipment, vigilant medical care and perhaps even the time-worn comfort of chicken soup will be on tap to combat Arctic conditions for Sunday's NFL playoff game in Green Bay, Wisconsin, between the Packers and San Francisco 49ers

So says Dr. Matthew J. Matava, head team doctor for the St. Louis Rams and president of the National Football League Physicians Society.

With temperatures expected to drop below zero Fahrenheit (-18 C) accompanied by icy winds during the game, hand and finger fractures, hamstrings and quadriceps, frostbite and dehydration are of particular concern, according to Matava.

Players will wear the latest in fabrics that retain body heat, use chemical heat products in their shoes and gloves and apply petroleum-based products to their faces to protect their skin, the orthopedic surgeon told Reuters in a telephone interview.

More than two dozen medical personnel, including trainers, doctors and chiropracters, will patrol the sidelines to massage and treat players and watch out for possible frostbite.

"One thing we tend to forget about is hydration (on a frigid day)," Matava said.

"You lose a lot of water just through respiration. Your body metabolism is geared up so much in order to maintain your body heat that part of the waste that you expel through your lungs contains water.

"A lot of sidelines will have warm chicken broth available. It tastes good, it's going to be warm and help warm them internally. It contains electrolytes and the sodium chloride (salt) helps replenish electrolytes you lose in sweat."   Continued...