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Football mom: What to do about cramping in practice

Dear Football Mom,

Our son has had some horrible bouts with cramping this year at practice. I fear it could get worse in the upcoming games. He eats bananas like crazy and tries to stay hydrated with Gatorade. What else can he do or eat to keep the cramping down?

Dear Reader,

Great question! Is he S-T-R-E-T-C-H-I-N-G properly after workouts and practice?

Salt intake is huge. I’m sure your coach has suggested pickle juice, but if not, that’s a great source to get salt intake without having to take salt tablets. Of course, actually eating the pickles is a plus. Then again, the ole standby concoction of a baked potato with salted butter, added salt, and chopped pickles on top works too. That will clear up anything that ails ya!

One of my sons had a tough time with this very thing in college. I nearly went into orbit when I found out he was receiving IVs, not only at halftime but also in-between quarters. Seriously, how much is a mama supposed to take? Apparently, everything.     

That fella dried up like a dog in a dry desert hunting a bone every time he played, which was a lot. He tried to keep the IV deal under wraps and me from knowing. But one time before a game, I saw pouches of IVs on the sideline labeled with his number. I shot off like a rocket loaded with combustible fuel and went straight to the trainer. 

“What the heck, man? This kid hates needles, and he only has so many veins. Isn’t there another way to prevent his cramping?” 

The trainer was such a trooper. He explained how severely Brandon got dehydrated no matter what they did to keep him from it. The dude also told me my son was better off taking an IV throughout the game instead of keeling over with full-body cramps. Well, I couldn’t argue with that. At the time, he was one of the best trainers going and I respected his opinion. Brandon tells me now, “Actually, Mom, I got to where I saw needles as a God-send.” 

Just like flu season, right now it’s cramping season. There is, of course, the old-school remedy that will take care of cramping in an instant. Once the season rocks on and the weather gets cooler, you won’t see players dropping like flies in full-throttle pain on the field anymore. Cramping during the games should subside. 

If your son is still suffering with cramps halfway through the season, have him checked by a doc and make sure they do blood work. There could be underlying issues no one sees on the surface. Let’s hope not. 

Enjoy the season and watching your son and his team play the greatest game on earth. 


Dear Football Mom,

I read your recent column on mixing church and state together for the sake of football. Was just wondering if you could answer a quick question for me. If the head coach of a football team had his largely Christian team listen to a Muslim or a Judaist preach their religion as potential “inspiration,” would you accept that coach’s decision as the “freedom to choose” his way of instilling in his players “a moral compass to guide youngsters?”

Dear Reader,

I appreciate your question and you taking the time to write me, but your first statement is completely incorrect. No one is mixing church for the sake of football. Please reread the column. Apparently, you were confused. I get it. That is easy to do. 

I tend to reserve this space for real questions, from real parents, who have real concerns surrounding the game of football. I do not answer scenarios or what if’s … but thank you very much for reaching out. I hope you’ll continue to read the columns. 

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