For many, high school football is a pretty big deal. Students are vying for the attention of college recruiters, doing whatever they can to stay healthy, win games, and secure a football scholarship. Many high schools are relying on unconventional wellness tools to keep players on the up-and-up. A recent report shows that more than a dozen high school football programs in the state of Georgia have been leveraging IV hydration treatments to prevent cramping and improve overall performance. Students receive hydration infusions before, during, and after games. This practice, however, has sparked something of a controversy.

On the one hand, IV hydration for athletes is common and safe. It alleviates cramping, prevents sore, achy muscles, improves performance by increasing endurance and promoting efficient energy consumption, and also promotes recovery via improved cellular repair and protein synthesis support for muscle growth and repair. On the other hand…these are high school students. Are these measures necessary at such a young age? It’s common knowledge that NFL and NCAA football players rely on IV hydration before games to cut down on muscle cramps and maximize their performance. But for high school students, these measures seem a bit drastic.

Read the AJC article here: 

Not every student receives IV hydration—coaches assess students and identify those who are at-risk of cramping or excessive dehydration. And, of course, parents sign consent forms before their child can receive IV hydration therapy. But if a student is cramping—or if they are sick, and unable to hold down fluids—should they be playing in the first place? And another question is raised: if students know that IV hydration is available to them, will they be less likely to take care of themselves naturally?

Finally—and perhaps most importantly—what is the risk of putting so much pressure on these high school students to perform at maximum capacity? Studies show that aggressive coaching and external pressure to perform can cause students to experience heightened levels of anxiety and distress, as well as an increased risk of such outcomes as disordered eating, burnout and depression.


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