UF Celebrates 50 Years Of Gatorade

October 3, 2015

The research question posed to University of Florida professor J. Robert Cade, M.D., and his research fellows in 1965 was a simple one: Why were so many Gator football players getting sick in the unrelenting Florida heat?

“That question changed our lives,” Cade would later tell reporters, because the answer led him and his team to develop an innovative product that forever changed athletic performance, launched a new industry, helped people suffering from dehydration and sparked a legacy of innovation that persists at UF today — Gatorade.

This year marks 50 years since Cade and his team — Dana Shires, M.D.; Jim Free, M.D.; and Alejandro de Quesada, M.D. — concocted the mixture of water, electrolytes and lemon juice that ultimately became UF’s most famous invention.

At the time Gatorade was invented, the researchers’ goal was simply to develop something to help the Gator football team stay hydrated in the heat.

“Several football players were in the emergency room because of heat stroke,” said de Quesada, who noted that Gatorade was a side project for the team, which at the time was more focused on the bourgeoning use of hemodialysis and kidney transplantation. “The concept at the time was that if you were engaged in strenuous exercise, you could not drink water because it caused vomiting. The idea was if you create a solution and give it to the players, they would be hydrated much faster.

“We came up with a solution that could be absorbed quickly. It was very simple.”

With the permission of then-UF coach Ray Graves, the researchers tested the beverage on the Gators’ “B” team. Although the taste took some time to be perfected, the results of the fledgling sports drink were promising and seemed to help the team on the field. By 1966, the Gators had an 8-2 regular season record and had won the Orange Bowl for the first time, and many thought Gatorade played a role in that success. The Florida Times-Union famously wrote “One Lil’ Swig of That Kickapoo Juice and Biff, Bam, Sock — It’s Gators, 8-2.”

Today, Gatorade, now owned by PepsiCo, is the official sports drink of the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball and more. Within UF, the invention of Gatorade has cultivated another lasting legacy — a culture of innovation. The example set by Gatorade’s inventors has influenced generations of Gator researchers to be persistent in their pursuit of discovery and to aim big.

“What Bob Cade did for the university was make everyone else realize that someone working quietly on something interesting and relevant to them could make a difference,” said Nikolaus Gravenstein, M.D., the Jerome H. Modell, M.D., professor of anesthesiology in the UF College of Medicine. “You could be in any discipline and make a difference.

“It is one of our reasons our UF Office of Technology and Licensing is the size it is, because there are so many people who say ‘I can do that, too.’”

Mark Segal, M.D., Ph.D., the J. Robert Cade professor of medicine and division chief of nephrology, hypertension and renal transplantation in the College of Medicine, said Cade’s work has influenced many in his division.

“I truly believe this division is innovative, and that innovation has its origins with Dr. Cade,” Segal said. “He never accepted the status quo. We shouldn’t accept the status quo, either.”

Royalties from Gatorade also have funded more than $250 million in research projects across the university and notably within the College of Medicine, where Cade was a faculty member in the department of medicine division of nephrology, hypertension and renal transplantation until his death in 2007.

In 2014, UF Health researcher Michael Lauzardo, M.D., received $200,000 from the Gatorade Trust to open a tuberculosis lab in Gressier, Haiti. Haiti has the worst rate of tuberculosis infection in the western hemisphere. At the lab, UF researchers are performing rapid diagnostic tests to more quickly diagnose patients, training Haitian lab technicians to perform these tests and conducting research to answer crucial questions related to the transmission of the disease and why some strains have become resistant to well-known treatments.

“We want to move research forward and address how to best provide drug-resistant TB therapy in a difficult environment, how to best get specimens to a lab, and how to get people who live in remote areas complicated lifesaving therapy. This is an area where Haiti can be a leader,” said Lauzardo, director of the Southeastern National Tuberculosis Center, chief of the UF division of infectious diseases and global medicine and a member of the Emerging Pathogens Institute. “Gatorade’s funding has helped us do something novel and unique and efficient that moves research forward.”

Gatorade royalties have funded many pilot projects throughout UF, helping researchers get their work off the ground or establish labs. One such project that has come to full fruition is the Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience, which received a $30,000 grant from Gatorade to assist with its opening in 1974. Although the grant was small, the seed funding has paid off in big ways. Researchers at the Whitney Lab, located by the Atlantic Ocean in St. Augustine, Florida, specialize in understanding marine creatures to benefit human health.

For example, in 2014, Whitney researcher Leonid Moroz, Ph.D., became the first scientist to conduct genome sequencing of fragile marine creatures, such as rare comb jellies, in real time while aboard a ship. Because of their delicate bodies, these creatures cannot be safely shipped to the lab, so the researchers brought the lab to them. The research could lead to better understanding of the mechanisms at work in these creatures and could lead to new drug discoveries.

Gatorade’s influence also has spawned numerous discoveries at UF benefiting sports medicine. Gravenstein and his team developed air-cooled football pads to combat heat illness in athletes. The technology is now used in the NFL. Other UF researchers such as Jay Clugston, M.D., in the College of Medicine, are studying ways to prevent and reduce concussions in athletes.

“(Gatorade) infected people with the spirit of discovery,” Gravenstein said. “I am convinced the best is yet to come.”

For de Quesada, looking back on the invention he, Cade, Shires and Free devised five decades ago, what makes him the most proud is Gatorade’s use off the field, helping children recover from dehydration caused by vomiting and diarrhea.

“Babies, used to die because of severe diarrhea and vomiting. There was little they could do. With the use of Gatorade, that problem was solved,” he said. “We never claimed that Gatorade is a medication. But it can be used to hydrate people who need hydration for medical reasons. That is one of the great satisfactions I have, is how many lives it has saved.”

Dads Head To School At Pine Meadow, Lipscomb Elementaries

October 1, 2015

Pine Meadow and Lipscomb elementary schools took part in “Dads, Take Your Child to School Day” on Wednesday. The day was proclaimed by Gov. Rick Scoot who said that research suggests that when fathers are actively involved in their child’s education, students perform better academically, have few discipline problems and become more responsible adults.

Dads and other male role models, such as grandfathers, stepdads and foster dads were also encouraged to take part.

Lipscomb Elementary welcomed dads to campus with “Donuts for Dads”, and at Pine Meadow, dads had the opportunity to follow their children through their school day.

For more photos, click here.

Photos by Kim Stefansson for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.


Blackwater River State Forest Certified As Sustainable

September 30, 2015

The Florida Forest Service, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, has certified the Blackwater River and Tate’s Hell State Forests, covering 413,000 acres, through the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), one of the world’s most recognized and independent forest management certification standards.

“We are proud of our efforts to ensure that the land and resources entrusted to the Florida Forest Service are managed responsibly and conscientiously. Thanks to certification programs, such as SFI, the public can remain confident that our state forests are managed in line with some of the highest standards in the nation and will remain healthy and productive for generations to come,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam.

SFI’s 2015-2019 Forest Management Standard is based on principles, goals and performance measures that were developed nationally by professional foresters, conservationists and others with the intention of promoting sustainable forest management in North America. SFI and its many partners work together to balance environmental, economic and social objectives such as conservation of wildlife habitat and biodiversity, forest products, protecting water quality, forest industry jobs and recreation.

“We are thrilled that the Florida Forest Service has demonstrated their leadership and commitment to responsible forest management by getting these two beautiful forests covering more than 400,000 acres certified to SFI,” said Kathy Abusow, president and CEO of SFI Inc. “By doing so, they are doing a service to the forests, and the communities and markets that rely on the goods and services that flow from well managed forests.”

Through the SFI Forest Partners Program, the Florida Forest Service joined other public agencies to seek cost-effective and efficient methods to implement and achieve independent SFI certification on its two largest state forests.

The goal of the SFI Forest Partners Program, which was founded by Time Inc., the National Geographic Society, Macmillan Publishers, Pearson, and with support from Hearst Enterprises, is to increase certification throughout the supply chain which in turn enables current and future generations to enjoy America’s forests for years to come.

“By participating in the SFI Forest Partners Program, we are helping infuse the forest products industry with an increased supply of certified timber. Although responsible forest management has been a priority of the Florida Forest Service since the beginning, this new certification provides conscientious consumers with the guarantee that our focus is on protecting, renewing and sustaining healthy forests,” said Jim Karels, Florida State Forester.

Pictured: Work in the Blackwater State Forest, which has been certified as sustainable. Photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Pepsi Cola Of Atmore Named One Of Company’s Top Bottling Companies

September 30, 2015

The Pepsi Cola Bottling Company of Atmore is one of the top three Pepsi bottling companies in the United States and Canada..  The Pepsi of Atmore franchise was recently named as finalist for the Donald M. Kendall Bottler of the Year Award.

Company officials were on hand in Kissimmee, FL, Monday night as the award was presented to Allen Beverages from Gulfport, MS.

“We were very honored to be a finalist and the love and support from our family ,friends and community has been amazing,” Pepsi of Atmore said on their Facebook page after learning the winner.

Named for PepsiCo’s co-founder and former chairman and chief executive officer, the Donald M. Kendall Bottler of the Year Award was created in 1994 to honor the best of the best among Pepsi-Cola bottlers in the United States and Canada.

Deadline Approaching To Enter Northview Homecoming Parade

September 30, 2015

Friday is the deadline to enter the annual Northview High School Homecoming Parade. The parade has been set for Friday, October 9.

The parade will line up at noon and travel from Bratt Elementary School to Northview High.  Entries are being accepted now; there is no cost to enter. For a printable entry form, click here. Entries are due by October 2.

Contact Perry Byars at (850) 327-6681 ext. 248 for more information.

The Northview Chief’s homecoming game will kickoff at 7 p.m. on October 9 against Liberty County.

Pictured: A float in the 2014 Northview High Homecoming Parade in Bratt. NorthEscambia.com file photo, click to enlarge.

Northview Students Receive Ronald Reagan Student Leader Awards

September 29, 2015


Northview students (L-R) Jessica Amerson, David Weber and Moriah McGahan have been registered as recipients for the Ronald Reagan Student Leader Award by Principal Gayle Weaver, as part of an effort to inspire the next generation of outstanding leaders.   These students will share their experiences with other recipients throughout the nation in a national online database. Photo for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Molino Park Holds 5th Grade Grandparents Breakfast

September 29, 2015

The Molino Park Elementary School PTA held their 5th Grade Grandparents Breakfast recently.

The school holds a grandparents breakfast during year for each grade level, even taking a photo of each student with the grandparent for the yearbook.

Photos by Amanda Manning for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Ernest Ward Middle Seeks Veteran’s Stories For Program

September 28, 2015

Ernest Ward Middle School is seeking personal stories from veterans in the local community to use as part of their upcoming Veterans Day program.

Veterans with an inspirational or traumatic account  of a military service event are asked to email their story to teacher Katie Roley at  kroley@escambia.k12.fl.us or contact the school at (850) 327-4283 for information on submitted a handwritten or typed account.

The following information should be included with the submission: The veteran’s full name, dates of service (peace time or specific war), current community of residence and the detailed account of one specific event.

The submission deadline is Friday, October 9.

Pictured: A “MIA Table” presentation at last year’s Veterans Day Program at Ernest Ward Middle School. NorthEscambia.com file photo, click to enlarge.

Bonus Gallery: NHS Band, Dance, Cheerleaders, NJROTC

September 28, 2015

For a bonus photo gallery from last Friday night with the Northview High School Tribal Beat Band, Dance Team, NJROTC and cheerleaders, click here.

For a game action summary and action photos, click here.

NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.

Big Brothers Big Sisters License Plate Now Available

September 27, 2015

A Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) specialty license plate has been released by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

Proceeds from the BBBS tag support their programs to bring caring mentors into the lives of children. The group says that youth today will be the professionals, leaders, and caregivers of tomorrow, and BBBS’s vision is to invest time, talent, and treasure in today’s youth to maximize the quality of life in the future.

This specialty plate is now available at the offices of the Escambia County Tax Collector. The annual cost of the tag is $25 in addition to regular registration and service fees.

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