Day 28 of 31-Day Series “Your Last Health Resolution”

Henry White, a 21-year-old junior, played basketball for Grambling State University.  According to those around him, White was “in tremendous shape”.  At 6’6″ White looked the part of a college athlete.  But the morning of August 26, 2009 would push his body to the limit.

White showed up for an early conditioning workout, which required weight training.  He then departed for a meeting with the basketball team on campus.  Due to arriving late, the coaches instituted a punishment called, “The Tiger Mix”.  It required a 4 1/2 mile run around campus in under 40 minutes.  That meant sustaining about a 9-minute-mile pace.  White and a few other players had to pay this penalty.

As you might imagine, a hot August day in Louisiana doesn’t offer much solace to anyone.  The temps approached 95 degrees.  The athletes were not offered water during the run.  After finishing, White walked inside and collapsed.  The next 12 days would turn the university and the White family upside down.

What happened to Henry White that day?

Woman Drinking Water from a GlassThe human body’s principal chemical component is water.  It makes up 60% of your body weight.  The brain and heart are 73% water, the muscles and kidneys 79%.  Lack of water can cause the body to malfunction.  A 2.5% drop in body weight due to water loss means a 25% loss in efficiency.  Too big of a loss can lead to an emergency.

Water serves many vital functions like:

  • regulating internal temperature
  • metabolizing and transporting carbohydrates and proteins
  • flushing waste from the body
  • protecting the brain and spinal cord from shock
  • lubricating the joints

Those functions serve to increase energy, muscle development, and help maintain a healthy weight. 

Twelve days after suffering a collapse from dehydration Henry White paid the ultimate price – his life.  His case was an extreme one we hope never happens again.  Grambling State failed to provide safeguards for this young athlete.  They learned a hard lesson.

Safeguarding yourself against dehydration isn’t just about preventing death.  It helps your body perform at optimum efficiency.  So how much do you need?  The Institute of Medicine says men need about 13 cups per day and women need 9 cups.

To help you consume your needed amount, use a water bottle.  Know how many cups it takes to fill it.  Then determine how many bottles you need to consume during the day.  Go have a drink right now.