By Aaron Wilson
The Baltimore Sun
8:30 PM EST, January 7, 2013
The AFC North champion Ravens are scheduled to travel to Denver on Friday, one day prior to their AFC divisional-round playoff game against the AFC West champion Broncos.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said the team is already planning ahead to account for the potentially adverse effects on athletic performance due to the higher altitude of Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The city of Denver is 5,280 feet above sea level.
Upon arrival at higher altitudes, health journals recommend that athletes drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration and to get plenty of sleep. The reduced amount of oxygen at higher altitudes can cause a strain on lung capacity and heart rates.
It normally takes several days to fully adjust to higher altitude, so getting in a day early is regarded as the top way on a short-term basis to avoid dealing with altitude sickness. Teams with outstanding cardiovascular conditioning usually fare better in Denver.
This will be a new experience for a few members of the Ravens as the team hasn't played a game in Denver since 2006.
"There are some concerns about it," Harbaugh said of the higher elevation. "We have done our homework on that. We have a plan or that. We are going to go out there the night before. We feel like that's the best way to do it to try to stay within a 24-hour window in the altitude.
"We have some other advice for our guys in order to take care of their bodies ut there and be ready to go. Other than that, there's not much more you can do. I think our team is in very good shape. I think we're going to be physically able to handle it."