2012 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Luke Kuechly made his way to Roanoke Rapids High School today to speak with members of the Yellow Jackets and Chaloner Middle School football teams.

Kuechly was in town as part of the Gatorade Train With A Pro tour. Kuechly, who played college football at Boston College, spoke with the athletes about the importance of staying hydrated and taking care of their bodies on and off of the football field.

After speaking with the group, Kuechly and the players went into the gym and went through some exercises. The Panthers starting middle linebacker then stayed and posed for pictures for 30 minutes with players.

“I have been doing things here and there with Gatorade, talking about the products they have to help prevent dehydration, things that will help you through training camp. Especially when it is hot like this,” Kuechly said.

Kuechly stressed to the athletes how staying hydrated before, during and after a game can help performance on the field.

“This is cool and easy for me to do,” Kuechly said. “I can get around and touch a lot of people. You get a camp together, and a bunch of guys around and you can talk to everybody.”

Kuechly also mentions how important hydration is to staying healthy. Many players think staying healthy only means avoiding physical injuries, but Kuechly knows staying hydrated is just as important.

“If you don’t have fluid in your muscles, and you are not hydrated you can pull something,” Kuechly said. “That is a tough issue. Soft tissue damage — you cannot rush that back. I think hydration is an easy thing to do. Lifting, running and getting in shape is hard. Drinking, that is not that hard to do.”

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