The Stanford football team has brought 12 secret weapons to Miami to help ensure victory in the upcoming Orange Bowl – and no, they aren't players or game strategies.
They are CoreControl cooling units, which are made available to the Cardinal at every practice, training session and game to combat muscle cramping, potential heat illness or distress from conditioning.
The devices cool from the inside out, whereas alternative cooling methods like ice packs and ice water give athletes a temporary cooling relief. Although several athletic programs such as the San Francisco 49ers, Miami Dolphins and Miami University use CoreControl, the technology was invented in the 1990's by two Stanford biologists and the Stanford football program remains one of its biggest advocates.
"CoreControl has been of tremendous value to our sports medicine team," Stanford's head football Trainer Steve Bartlinksi said. "It has allowed us to assist in athletes' recovery while on the sidelines and return them to play safely without any additional heat-related issues."
According to Bartlinksi, the one factor that makes the product better than anything else is its portability. The device is approximately the size of a coffee pot and is used like a glove. Players put their hands inside the unit for three minutes, or as time permits during a game, and then hit the field refreshed.
CoreControl has a range of applications outside of sports and has been proven to treat stroke and heart attack victims and to help soldiers stay on the field longer under intense heat conditions.
"Fortunately for us, we are not in a geographic area that has extremely hot temperatures or high humidity rates," Barlinski said. "But we always have the units on hand in case we need them, and we frequently use them during summer conditioning and fall camp."
Whether or not the Cardinal will need all 12 CoreControl units in Miami is uncertain. However, at the very least, Stanford will be the cooler team to compete in the Orange Bowl.