UConn football players participate in heat study

Updated: August 15, 2003, 1:17 PM ET

STORRS, Conn. -- Connecticut quarterback Dan Orlovsky had no problems helping the NCAA for an eight-day heat-related study.

So he and his teammates took temperature-sensitive pills, hoping the results of the study can help the NCAA better understand how heat and new practice rules affect student athletes.

Practice rules were changed starting this year following the deaths of Minnesota Vikings lineman Korey Stringer and Northwestern safety Rashidi Wheeler in 2001.

"I figured why not, if it's going to help us along with other college players," Orlovsky said. "You can't get anything negative out of this, only positives."

The players took the capsules the morning of practices, allowing doctors to monitor core body temperatures throughout the workouts, said Douglas Casa, director of UConn's Athletic Education Program who headed the study.

Each capsule -- the size of a large vitamin -- contains a quartz crystal that vibrates according to body temperature. It emits a low frequency radio wave that a hand-held recorder can read. The doctors hold the device to the player's body, locate the capsule and take the measurement.

The NCAA wants to see how new practice rules have affected college football players. Results were being compiled, and no preliminary findings were released.

The new rules include a five-day break-in period before athletes can begin rigorous two-a-day practices.

Helmets are the only equipment players can wear during the first two days of summer practice. By the fifth day, they can wear full pads. After five days, coaches can begin to hold two practices a day, but only every other day.

Measuring a player's core body temperature is crucial, and doctors say they cannot get an accurate reading using a mouth or ear thermometer. If the body heats up too much, a player could experience either heat exhaustion or heatstroke.

The Huskies have practiced in hot and humid weather the last several days. The high temperature in Hartford on Wednesday, the last day of the study, was 90 degrees.

Guard Brian Markowski said the study was weird at first, but thought nothing of it after the end of the eight days.

West Chester University in Pennsylvania received NCAA funds to conduct the same study. Dr. Sandy Fowkes Godek, an associate professor in sports medicine at West Chester, performed the same study last year under the old NCAA guidelines and plans to compare the two sets of data.

"It is important to get some information to see if rules will be beneficial," Godek said.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index

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