There is nothing worse to an athlete then not being able to compete because of some sickness. But, for some athlete, especially young athletes, this sickness is caused not by some odd chance you are sick, but because of things you are doing to your body.

Let me start by saying the last time I threw up, vomited, puked whatever you want to call it was 1986.

Yes, you read that right. I haven’t puked since the spring of my 8th grade year. I’m not saying that to impress you. Trust me, that wasn’t one of my top pickup lines for the ladies. But, I’m saying it to illustrate a point.

That is three decades and I haven’t thrown up. You can call it luck, good genetics, or whatever, but my immune system has been pretty good for this long to not get sick enough to throw up.

I like to think that this has been a result of a combination of good genes and a healthy lifestyle. Getting the immune system strong starts with eating right and exercising. Plus, I’ve become more of a germaphobe as I’ve gotten older. Wash my hands, stay away from my family members who get sick (kidding…well not really).

Sometimes I feel like I’m Jerry Seinfeld in the Papi episode where Jerry sees Papi go the bathroom, not wash his hands, then prepare his meal for him. After this last OSU/Michigan game I was at and watching how many guys just left after doing their thing, you guys will be lucky if you even get a fist bump from me. Sickos.

I know that young and stupid go hand and hand, but do you have to be THAT stupid about your body. Take care of it! You guys are athletes.

Here is my little checklist for avoiding sickness as much as possible. I realize that some people have conditions beyond their control (so I’m not talking to you), but you others….NO, I’m not buying it. Treat your body like a frigging temple okay??!!

  • Wash your hands after you go the bathroom, especially when you go number 2. You’d be surprised about how often I see people NOT do this. This spreads germs, I don’t care how clean you think you are. Degenerates.
  • It doesn’t help me at all when you blow your nose, then wipe up the remains with your hand. Wash your hands please. Your hands are NOT snot rags.
  • Don’t cough or sneeze in your hands, then go to shake my hand. Not going to happen. I cough on my shoulder or sneeze away.
  • We live in the north during the winter, so dress like it. Don’t dress like you are going out to the VIP area down at South Beach. Wear a hat, layer up, especially AFTER you work out. I know they say you don’t catch colds that way. You do so through germs and viruses, but I still feel it isn’t good for you.
  • Eat!!! I still have to tell people who come in for morning workouts to eat and hydrate. They can’t even get through the warmups before they start struggling and bonk out. You basically just wasted an opportunity to GET BETTER!
  • Eat smarter!! I know you’ve probably heard this before, but treat your body like a car and put the proper fuel in it. Our bodies are like luxury cars. They only work efficiently with the best fuel (healthy food). You can put the lower grade fuel in the car (crappy food), but eventually it will break down. Stop eating the foods that have no nutritional value and do absolutely nothing to improve your immune system. It will also get you playing better in your games.
  • Listen to me!! I only want what’s best for your athletic playing career. Learn from the mistakes I see in others and myself to better yourself not only as an athlete, but as a person. I am one pretty smart dude.

Don’t think that getting sick or having a cold is just “how it goes.” Sometimes, yes it is, but a lot of times it is on YOU. Start taking care of your body so you don’t miss out on training sessions and you can be better prepared as an athlete to kick some A$$! You do no good having your talent on the bench because you are sick.