At 3:40 PM CST the Green Bay Packers will take on the San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau Field in Wisconsin. At that time the Weather Channel is predicting the temperature will be one degree Fahrenheit with wind chills that will make it feel like it is seventeen degrees below zero. Due to this extreme winter freeze the Midwest is facing Green Bay Packers fans may be facing health risks from the cold temperatures when they venture out doors to the first round of the NFL Playoffs.
Certainly the biggest risk for fans attending Sunday’s game is hypothermia. If properly dressed and also using the different warming devices Green Bay as already announced they will provide for free, fans should be fairly safe from sustaining hypothermia. However, drinking alcohol can increase the risk of contracting hypothermia and having a beer while watching a football game is one of the oldest traditions in America. Hopefully fans will realize that it is just too cold for anything other than the hot chocolate or coffee Green Bay has already announced it will provide for free.
Another major concern for fans is frostbite, which is easy to prevent on the hands and feet by wearing gloves and warm boots, but more difficult when dealing with the face and nose. Prolonged exposure to this kind of cold could result in frost bite if fans do not take the proper precautions.
Green Bay Packers fans are not the only ones facing health risks from the cold. The temperatures will be so cold that health officials are also worried about player safety, thinking that the temperatures could make the bodies of the players, especially their muscles and bones, more perceptible to injury.
When temperatures are this cold muscles, tendons and other body parts literally become more brittle making the possibility of tearing or straining more likely. Injuries could play a major part in today’s contest, making staying warm when on the sidelines a must for both sides.
Another symptom for players to watch out for is asthma. If a player already has asthma it could be severely aggravated by playing in the cold weather. Players will have to monitor their breathing and use oxygen tanks when they are on the sidelines because once they are a part of the action they will be immediately exposed to the cold, harsh air that could irritate their lungs.
Both teams have talented offenses that like to run and score points quickly. A major key to a victory on Sunday could be watching which team is prepared for the temperatures and is able to keep all of their key playmakers healthy, especially during long sustained drives when they are away from the sidelines.
Lambeau Field’s playing surface should be heated by underground pipes during Sunday’s action so the field itself will not be frozen, but everyone surrounding the field, or on it, will probably feel like they themselves are frozen to the action, literally.
Fans must take the winter warnings seriously. Green Bay Packers fans must know that they face health risks from the cold temperatures when they come out on Sunday to rout on the Packers and must take the proper precautions necessary to stay healthy.
By Nick Manai