About Dr. Robert Cade
Dr. Robert Cade, who invented Gatorade and sparked the multimillion dollar sports drink industry, died Tuesday of kidney failure. He was 80.
His death was announced by the University of Florida, where he and other researchers created Gatorade in 1965 to help the school's football players replace carbohydrates and electrolytes lost through sweat while playing in swamp-like heat.
A question from former Gator Coach Dwayne Douglas sparked their research, Cade said in a 2005 interview with The Associated Press. He asked, "Doctor, why don't football players wee-wee after a game."
"That question changed our lives," Cade said.
Cade's researchers determined a football player could lose up to 18 pounds during the three hours it takes to play a game. They also determined 90 to 95 percent of the weight loss was water. Plasma volume decreased by 7 percent and blood volume about 5 percent. Sodium and chloride were excreted in the sweat.
Using their research, and about $43 in supplies, they concocted a brew for players to drink while playing football.
"It sort of tasted like toilet bowl cleaner," said Dana Shires, one of the researchers who sampled the first batch.
"I guzzled it and I vomited," Cade said.
The researchers added some sugar and some lemon juice to improve the taste. It was first tested on freshmen because Coach Ray Graves didn't want to hurt the varsity team. Eventually, however, the use of the sports beverage spread to the Gators, who enjoyed a winning record and were known as a "second-half team" by outlasting opponents.