The temperature on Sunday in Chicago is expected to peak near 20 degrees, conditions that will not be all that comfortable for the Seahawks.
But the support staff is doing everything possible to make the coaches and players as comfortable as possible regardless of the winter weather. Take a look at how the cold temperatures in Chicago are affecting the Seahawks’ preparations this week leading into the weekend:
The cold-weather game will not have a greater impact than on the equipment department. Ever since the Seahawks found out they’d be playing in Chicago, the equipment staff has worked virtually around the clock to prepare and pack for the trip, since the chilly temperatures necessitate loads of additional clothing and gear. More than 3,000 extra pounds of equipment is being transported to Chicago, raising the cargo load from 14,000 pounds to 17,000 pounds. Besides the suspected winter gear, the equipment department is also packing battery-heated jackets and gloves, cases of hand and foot warmers and enough thermal gear to suit up the traveling party of more than 130 players and staff. “It’s just a lot of stuff,” head equipment manager Erik Kennedy said. “You don’t want to forget anything.”
Hydration will be a key emphasis all weekend, as athletic trainers and strength coaches will be encouraging players to drink lots of fluid throughout the trip. The dry air from a long flight combined with the freezing, low-humidity weather in Chicago will be cause for dehydration, so the Seahawks will be aiming to combat that. Head athletic trainer Sam Ramsden said bodies work overtime to create heat and players have a decreased desire to drink in cold weather, a volatile combination for dehydration. “We encourage players to hydrate as if we’re playing in Tampa Bay in September,” Ramsden said.
Hot apple cider and warm chicken broth will be available on the sideline to keep the players’ body temperatures up and provide them with nutrients.
Gatorade and water will have a short shelf life on the sideline during the game since it’ll start to freeze if left out too long, Ramsden said.
Athletic trainers will encourage more frequent snacking on the sideline since bodies consume more calories while trying to maintain a normal temperature.
The team’s medicine bag, balms and Gatorade gel packs will be kept in a heated cooler on the sideline so they don’t freeze during the game.