Steve Weatherford on why NFL players sleep in hyperbaric chambers

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Hey everyone! Before we get to the questions, I just want to say that I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and that you went heavy on the turkey – and light on the stuffing!! If not, you know what you need to do now!!

I was able to spend my first Thanksgiving in 16 years with family and friends back in Terre Haute. I surprised my Grammy when we got there in the middle of the night – and I ran a 10K with my little sister. Special times I cherish and now we move onto Christmas. I don’t know about the rest of you, but for me that means turning my house into a giant light bulb. Also, being a father to four young children means that I am about to do some serious damage to my checking account. Still, there is no better time of the year than the holiday season and I am really excited to spend it with my friends and family.

Is sleeping in a hyperbaric chamber a normal thing for players do?

Despite how futuristic sleeping in hyperbaric chamber may seem, this has actually become a common practice among many NFL players for a few years now. I have my own portable chamber in my house! The reason for why I and so many NFL players engage in sleeping these chambers is because a hyperbaric chamber reduces swelling, promotes the healing of wounds, helps fight off dangerous infections, and increases the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream.

Naturally, in a sport as physically abusive and taxing as football, hyperbaric chambers are viewed as miracle sleeping bags that can assist in not only helping improving a player’s physical conditioning, but hyperbaric chambers can also assist in the healing of injuries sustained from a game. A hyperbaric chamber works by breathing in pure oxygen in air pressure levels that are 1 to 3 times higher than average.

The first player I can remember personally owning one of these chambers was Terrell Owens. I remember thinking at first that hyperbaric chambers looked and sounded like something out of Star Wars! However, the longer I was in the league, the more I began to hear about players using these chambers as a way to stay healthy, and the more interested I became in the idea. Hyperbaric chambers can also improve the health and conditioning of non-athletes as well, provided that you can afford to spend $20,000 to buy one!

What’s the best way to do an office Secret Santa?

This is one of my favorite Christmas traditions, but unfortunately in most NFL locker rooms there is not enough time to play Secret Santa while you are game planning for the next week’s game. Still, I have had plenty of experience playing Secret Santa and can share my tips that will ensure that you and your coworkers have a good time playing the game at the office Christmas party!

The first tip I would recommend before playing Secret Santa at the office is to choose a price range for all of the gifts. Coming up with a specific price range that every gift must cost, will help avoid that awkward feeling of receiving a plasma screen TV while your coworker gets a toothbrush. Remember that Secret Santa is supposed to be fun and you want to avoid making anyone feel awkward. The second tip I would recommend for playing Secret Santa at the office would be to randomly select one person as the gift exchanger. To avoid any cheating, have this one person’s job to be to randomly distribute the gifts throughout the office. This way everyone in the office truly receives a gift that is random.

Finally, remember to have fun! Secret Santa is just a way for you to celebrate and have a little fun with the people that you spend the majority of your year with. And when you do the exchanging of gifts, couple it with a fun activity. I love breaking out my phone and challenging a room full of people to the game “Heads Up” where friends have to give you clues to guess what’s on your phone.

(Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports)

(Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports)

What are your thoughts on the Kobe Bryant announcing that he will retire at the end of this NBA season?

When I first heard that Kobe Bryant had announced that he would be retiring at the end of the 2016 season, I must admit that the news made me sad. What Kobe Bryant has meant to the game of basketball and sports in general can never be replaced. Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest competitors that I have ever had the privilege of watching play. In the same way that the sports world stood together in appreciation of Derek Jeter when he decided to retire, we should all do the same for Kobe Bryant. He is the closest thing we have seen resembling Michael Jordan since Jordan retired and it will be a long time before we see another player of Kobe’s caliber.

I will always remember Kobe winning championships with Shaq, dropping 81 points on the Toronto Raptors, and ultimately winning getting back on top of the mountain with Phil Jackson and Pau Gasol. The NBA will sorely miss Kobe after this year and we should all appreciate these last few months of basketball that he will be playing.

(Image of Steve Weatherford courtesy of Dustin Snipes)

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