ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- On the heels of a record-setting heat wave in Denver, record-setting Broncos linebacker Von Miller spoke to young athletes on Saturday morning about the importance of proper hydration to staying safe and maximizing athletic performance.
"You've got to stay hydrated," Miller said during his address to the group of young athletes at the Football University Denver Camp at Cherry Creek High School. "You carry it over every single day and it just becomes a habit. Working hard, it all starts with forming habits."
Miller spoke alongside Team Nutritionist Bryan Snyder, giving advice about hydration and heat safety awareness and answering questions from campers.
The talk was part of Gatorade's "Beat the Heat" program, which aims to raise awareness on how proper hydration can help reduce heat-related illnesses during athletic activity.
"Coaches are always harping on you guys for things that are controllable and things that are not in your control," Snyder told the campers. "Dehydration is preventable. There are a few exceptions here and there, but 95 percent of being dehydrated is preventable."
Miller added that proper nutrition and hydration routines are crucial to his ability to perform on the field.
"For me, it all starts with breakfast," Miller said. "I like to start every day out with a great meal, a great platform. I like to drink some Gatorade right in the morning, start the day out right. When you stay hydrated, it carries over to practice.
The Broncos' All-Pro linebacker set a team-record with 18.5 sacks in 2012, but on Saturday morning, Miller was most concerned with tackling dehydration.
"It really helps you get through practice," Miller told campers. "When you're playing football, it's already hard enough. If you put yourself in bad situations and you're not hydrated and not taking in the right food, it really gives you an unequal platform with all of the other guys out there."
Miller's advice was especially relevant given the sizzling heat wave in Denver, where temperatures reached 99 and 100 degrees on consecutive days earlier this week.
"It's a good week to talk about hydration," Snyder said after the event. "Especially with the altitude, I think it resonates quite a bit."
Interacting with an NFL superstar made for a special Saturday morning for campers at the event – and Miller later recalled what it was like for him when he was in their position.
"When I was a kid, I tried to take advantage of every opportunity that I could and I tried to stay on top of stuff that would help me separate myself from all the other talented guys out there," Miller said after the event. "For me, staying on top of nutrition and hydration early on it really helped separate me."
For Miller, speaking to the campers was also a trip down memory lane.
"Yeah, it takes me back," Miller said. "This is where your good days were. Here, you could just go out and play. This is where it all started for me."