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For Find Out Friday Week 28- What Was it That Came to the Gator’s Aide?

For this week’s Find Out Friday I decided to share some knowledge I already had but that I think is a pretty cool story. Clearly I have a thing for creation, as you could see in last week’s Find Out Friday post about well Post-its.

This story begins in Florida during the 1960s at the University of Florida. The football team there; the Florida Gators; were continually becoming severely dehydrated due to sweating after hours of practice and games in the hot sun. The coach and staff sought out Dr. James Robert Cade about possible solutions.

Dr. Cade spent some time questioning the player’s behaviors and routines. Dr. Cade found it odd that the players were not urinating during games or practices indicating that losing too much water that was not being properly replaced. It was discovered that players were losing about eighteen pounds a per three hours of game time which equals about ninety-five percent loss of water!! I do not know how there were not any deaths.

Thus it was imperative they find a method or product that could perform such a task. At the time there was nothing of the kind available.

Dr. Cade and his team began a series of research experiments between 1965-1966 and created a drink containing glucose and electrolytes. Coach Ray Graves and the members of his freshman Gators were the first to try it out. When it showed signs of working it was given out to the rest of the team. The only apparent downside was that it “tasted like bodily waste.” This is where you will find that behind every successful man there is a brilliant woman. Dr. Cade’s wife, Mary, suggested he add lemon juice to improve the flavor. In the end he also added the artificial sweetener, cyclamate.

Originally the team called it “Cade’s Ade” which morphed into “Gatorade” in honor of the team that gave it notoriety. After the Florida Gators won a series of a major games without incident, Dr. Cade applied and was granted a patent. After a series of legal disputes the University of Florida and Dr. Cade split the profits twenty-eighty respectively.

However, that first batch was financed by Dr. Cade himself through a bank loan. He initially made over two hundred thousand dollars which certainly made the University sit up and take notice. The first batch cost forty-three dollars to make which is the equivalent of three hundred twenty-five dollars nowadays.  Currently Gatorade is owned by PepsiCo and is sold in over eighty countries in at least fifty flavors. It hands down created the market of sports drinks.

Since the positive effects of Gatorade’s powers to rehydrate became known it went on to lead a life in many other fields. For one is went on to save babies, first at U.F. Health Shands Hospital, who were previously dying from dehydration. Dr. Cade’s daughter, Phoebe Cade Miles said: “there used to be hundreds of babies admitted for severe dehydration, many of whom died, and this changed overnight.” I am sure this was a precursor to products like Pedialyte today.

I know when I am nauseous or severely dehydrated Gatorade will be found in my refrigerator. I am not an athlete nor do I enjoy spending hours in direct sunlight but as a chronic migraine patient there are days when extra hydration is a must. For me I would be lost without it.

Some extra trivia:
  • The Gatorade shower began in 1985 when Jim Burt of the New York Giants poured it over Bill Parcells of the Washington Redskins after a win.
  • Michael Jordan was the first celebrity to endorse Gatorade making one and a half million dollars per year for ten years beginning in 1991.
  • In 1983 Gatorade became the official sports drink of the N.F.L. and is currently the only company that sponsors all thirty-two teams in the league.
  • It is estimated that over one hundred billion ounces of Gatorade are sold each year.

Now who can go for a tall, cold glass?

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