For Colts, hot practices are no sweat


The heat was on yesterday, but the CFL Colts seemed oblivious.

For the most part, anyway.

"This is why people shoot people," said Ivan Caesar, a rush end, near the end of the humid morning workout at Towson State.

It got worse, of course. When the afternoon practice started at 4 o'clock, it was 97 degrees on the practice field with 69 percent humidity. Huge, scattered rain drops fell at one point during the afternoon, but there was no relief.

Remarkably, there was no epidemic of heat exhaustion or muscle cramps, although team trainers were prepared.

John Cohen, one of the training assistants, said the Colts doubled their water supply to about 240 gallons for the afternoon workout in pads. "And we'll go through most of it," he said.

The team also made an early-morning emergency call for ice, and got 1,000 pounds of it shortly after. The ice helps stock three whirlpools, and trainers were armed with ice towels and ice bags.

But the 1-hour, 45-minute workout went without a problem.

"I think we're in pretty good shape," said quarterback John Congemi. "Everybody is working hard and I think that has a lot to do with it.

"If you let it affect you, the heat will beat you. If you do what you can and block it out, it's like a normal practice."

That's the message coach Don Matthews imparts at every practice.

"We have not made an issue of it," Matthews said. "We've made it our ally. The heat is our friend. I tell the players when the other teams come here and they're not used to playing in it, they'll die."

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