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High-tech Pads Keep Football Players Cool

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GAINESVILLE, Fla., Jan 28, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Florida football players may have found the answer to sweltering summers and sun-drenched Saturdays: air-conditioned shoulder pads.

Jacksonville University players said they were refreshed after trying out the pads, developed by the University of Florida College of Medicine. Other college and professional teams have expressed interest, researchers said.

Players will continue to test the pads through spring to help researchers learn more about the interaction between of heat stress and dehydration and quality of play. A warming version of the pads is being developed for teams in cooler climates.

Field temperatures sometimes reach 120 degrees, but the pads' filtered, circulating air can cool it to 60 degrees.

About 400 Americans die from heat-related illness each year.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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