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Seventeen year-olds get a workout at Parris Island...

...that makes high school football practice look like a stroll in the park. They run, they take on the obstacle course, the confidence course (a physically demanding obstacle course that incorporates psychological obstacles, such as fear of heights, fear of underground tight spaces, etc.), they engage in hand-to-hand combat training, pugil sticks, and close order drill on a steaming asphalt parade deck. They do it ALL day long...they run in formation at least twice a day.....and they do it twelve months a year with a casualty rate that is near zero. As long as coaches are stressing the importance of staying hydrated and taking in normal amounts of salt, training everyone to recognize the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and have a method of cooling a player down immediately at the first signs of heat stroke, it can be done safely. We need to stop turning our kids into pansies. When you watch those young Marine recruits running three miles on an August afternoon (or Navy SEAL candidates doing pushups in the ocean at BUDS training in January) you realize that our kids can be just as tough and rugged as they ever were if we simply STOP CODDLING THEM.


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