JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jaguars are helping athletes at Duval County Public Schools stay hydrated and remain socially distanced.
The team partnered with Whataburger and donated 116 hydration systems to DCPS programs on Thursday morning. The gallon-sized containers have a wand and a spray nozzle on them that will allow athletic trainers to stand back and spray water toward a player. It eliminates the need for individual or shared water bottles, which helps significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The benefits of youth sports cannot be understated, and we want to do everything we can to make sure they can continue in as safe a manner as possible,” said Marcus Pollard, the Jaguars director of player development and youth football. “It’s great to have Whataburger as a partner so we can provide equipment that supports our First Coast athletes in two ways — hydration and social distancing.”
Athletic trainers from the district’s 41 schools (24 middle schools, 17 high schools) picked up their supplies at TIAA Bank Field.
“This is a special year for our world, especially when you consider the fact that we’re here in Jacksonville, Florida where hydration would probably take precedence over anything when you talk about football practice,” said Christopher Foy, first-year football coach at Jackson.
“It’s a contact sport, however we want to stay socially distant. Once you touch it, you got to wipe it down. Now a spray bottle is as common as a whistle for a coach. But this is a different year, and it’s good to see the Jaguars out here helping us out with that.”
The Jaguars, the NFL, the Jacksonville Sports Medicine Program and numerous other entities laid the foundation in 2015 to help put a certified athletic trainer at each Duval County public high school by 2020. The venture, initially called Project 17, accomplished that goal last year.