DALLAS — Staying hydrated is a crucial part of summer sports, and Dallas Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper helped local youth football players realize the significance of avoiding dehydration.
The Pro Bowler took part in Gatorade's "Beat the Heat" initiative at the Hockaday School Saturday.
"A lot of these athletes, and even me sometimes, kind of forget the need to hydrate because I'm so caught up in the competitive mode that I'm in thinking about how I'm going to beat the guy across from me," Cooper said. "At the same time, I'm just losing so much sweat, and before you know it, you start to cramp. You're tired and now you're behind the 8-ball just because you can't play to your highest level."
When Cooper was growing up in Miami, Fla., there was a stigma associated with hydration breaks.
Said Cooper: Before, it was like when I was in high school, it was like, 'Water is for cowards!' But now it's like you actually need it in your body to perform at a high level. It's in the coach's best interest of his team to have his guys performing at the highest level."
Gatorade has been partnering with various NFL players for the past 15 years in its "Beat the Heat" program, which, according to the company, "aims to raise awareness among athletes, parents and coaches on how proper hydration can help reduce heat-related illnesses during athletic activity."
The message Gatorade is spreading is one that Cooper admits he needs to hear.
"Me personally, I've been in that situation before and never want to be in it again," said Cooper. "Anytime you're in the football game or practicing you want to show that you're actually playing at a high level. You can't do that if you're cramping or dehydrated."
The camp was run by Offense-Defense, one of the longest-running football camps in the country. The skills from the campers impressed the former first-round round pick from Alabama.
"Just coming out here today, these guys were really young, but they're taking it seriously," Cooper said. "They're running full speed through the drills and they actually can play. They actually have the feet, and it seems like all of them do. It's just a surprise to be honest."
When the campers took a break to hear Cooper talk about the importance of staying hydrated, none of them had questions for the trade piece that arguably saved the Cowboys' 2018 season. Instead, the campers just wanted to get back to working on their fundamentals.
"I just want them to know that it's important to always be at your highest level, and to do that you have to hydrate," said Cooper. "As simple as that."
Now that Amari Cooper has been with the Cowboys through an offseason, do you think he will land a long term deal in Dallas? Make your predictions to Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.