DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) – Footballers are often told to keep cool in the heat of the action.
Well, the French players will literally do that during the European Championship - by wearing a ''Cryo Jacket'' at halftime in every match.
Packed with eight pockets of ice, the jacket helps regulate the players' body temperature in hot conditions, reducing fatigue and hopefully keeping minds clear and focused.
''They look like bulletproof vests. They weigh 400 grams when they're empty and 1.9 kilograms with the ice packs in them,'' France team doctor Fabrice Bryand said Friday. ''Players will wear before training or before games, and also in the dressing room at halftime to lower the body temperature and facilitate a better recovery.
''They were used at the Olympic Games in Beijing, where the heat was similar to what we're expecting in the coming days.''
Temperatures for Monday's Group D match between France and England in Donetsk could reach 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit).
''The brain reacts to a rise in (body) temperature. You have to keep the temperature (stable),'' Bryand said. ''They were made in cooperation with the army and the fire service. It's more or less the same material that firefighters have to keep their skin cool.''
Wearing the jacket is part of the Cryotherapy technique, which decreases cellular metabolism and reduces the chances of swelling and muscles spasms.
The French have also installed a Cryogenic chamber at their base camp on the outskirts of Donetsk, with the permission of the Shakhtar Donetsk football team that normally uses the lavish training complex.
''Sleep, diet, drinking (water) are all important,'' Bryand said. ''We want our players to be in the best shape possible.''