Fresno State invests in high-tech training chamber

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Inside what looks like a giant walk-in freezer could provide the key information to help student athletes better prepare for competition. (KFSN)

Construction is underway on what's expected to be a game-changer for Fresno State Athletics. Inside what looks like a giant walk-in freezer could provide the key information to help student-athletes better prepare for competition.

"If you ask me, it could be the difference between winning and losing," Fresno State Professor Dr. Luke Pryor said.

Pryor and his wife Dr. Riana Pryor have spent the past decade studying how the human body responds to physical activity in the heat. Now they're pushing the frontiers of research with this soon-to-be-ready environmental chamber on campus.

The chamber will allow them to emulate any environment on earth while monitoring a person's body and conditioning.

"If we adapt them to the heat, we optimize their hydration their cooling," Luke said. "We are fully prepared to perform optimally in 110-degree heat."

Only a few of these chambers exist in the country, and Fresno State's will look similar to the one at the University of Oregon - complete with special treadmills and other exercise equipment and monitors.

"Before the chamber, we still did research here, but we did them outside," Riana explained. "So we had to wait for the few months. It gets really hot, and we're standing out there hoping for the weather to get perfectly hot - now we can do the research studies all-year round."

And the chamber won't just be used for Fresno State Athletes. Since it will be the only one of its kind in the Central Valley - Fresno State is opening it up to anyone in the community.

Field workers and firefighters and others who constantly work in the extreme heat are ideal candidates to use the chamber and get tested

"This is a prime location to be able to study these sorts of individuals these jobs these exceptions that they have, and how they react to the heat when it comes to their core temperature," said Riana. "They're sweating, how much they're drinking their behavior when they want to stop."

The chamber costs roughly $250,000 to build, which the university is paying through grants and hopes to open in time for the fall semester.

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