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Pill Helps U. of Virginia Monitor Athletes' Heat Risk

Paul Steinbach

Along with plenty of fluids, certain University of Virginia football players now swallow a vitamin-sized pill before practices. The pill contains a digestible sensor that facilitates Bluetooth connectivity, allowing team trainers to monitor each athletes' core temperature in real time during the workout.

“It’s really helping us keep them safe,” UVA assistant athletic director for sports medicine Kelli Pugh, the football team’s primary trainer, told The Manchester Times. “Before, we had to wait until they felt bad to tell us they felt bad.”

The pill is being used with freshmen and other high-risk players only before certain workouts. Athletes whose core body temperature begins to approach 104 degrees — which clinically defines heatstroke — can be monitored and treated before they begin to experience major symptoms, according to the Times report. Entering a players' jersey number into the system pulls up that individual's core temperature data.

Pugh told the Times that she believes Virginia is the only school currently using the technology, which cost about $60,000 a year to implement.

 

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