NORMAN — Temperatures have exceeded 100 degrees this August, creating sweltering conditions on the football practice fields across Oklahoma. In Norman, however, the heat is getting beat.
That's because players at the University of Oklahoma are wearing cooling vests during practice, designed to keep players cool against high temperatures. The vests, developed by Nike, are worn under shoulder pads and weigh slightly more than a T-shirt. An air tube popping out of the back of the vest allows for cool, dehumidified air to be pumped into the vest's pockets, creating a cooling effect in the body's core. So far, the vest has been a hit with many of the players, especially the offensive and defensive linemen. "It's really nice, the air cools you off fast,” said defensive end Jeremy Beal. "They help a lot in the heat.” Brad Camp, associate director of athletics equipment, said OU experimented with the vests in 2006 with players in the week leading up to and during the Texas game. Before this season, Camp said the university ordered 150 vests at a cost of $60 each, an investment of about $9,000, which doesn't include the cost of the air compressor, two coolers and two air tanks. Every player on the team has been given his own vest. Camp anticipates that players will wear the vests during practices and games until temperatures consistently dip below 80 degrees.
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