ALTOONA, BLAIR COUNTY - On a hot day recently, some local track stars went through 30 gallons of Gatorade and 20 gallons of water. Competitors at the District 6 AA Track Championships made it through 5 hours in the heat, without cramping up.
But Thursday night, NBA star LeBron James left a playoff game early due to severe cramps, blamed on the lack of air conditioning in the arena. James, a spokesman for Powerade is the butt of jokes, by those who say Gatorade could have kept him in the game. A local athletic trainer doesn't agree.
"We've used both and it doesn't matter," says Steve Reimer, an athletic trainer at the Altoona Area School District. He adds, "it probably could be even come down to preference or taste. I have different flavors and the athletes tell me what they want to drink and quite often iI do get that for them because I know they'll drink it."
Reimers says the AASD's athletic department policy is to tell kids early and often to drink liquids before phys. ed. classes and sporting events.
He says anyone, even a pro athlete like LeBron James, can cramp up if they're not properly hydrated and the pros actually at a higher risk because they require more water due to their high muscle to fat ratio.