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Soccer

The NWSL Is Terrorizing Rookies With This Dubious Treatment For Cramps

4:20 PM EDT on June 26, 2023

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Some of the most universally beloved videos on the internet have a simple premise: Watch a baby eat a lemon slice. The infants' innocent curiosity that quickly turns into uncontrollable disgust feeds our monkey brains that love to laugh at other people's suffering. In the same way that it's funny when a baby tries a lemon slice for the first time, I had to laugh at a clip of Kansas City Current rookie Michelle Cooper going through a similar pain during Saturday's game against the Orlando Pride. Her visceral repulsion caused her to squirm as the trainer attempted to stretch her legs. What in the world did she drink?

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Cooper herself added to the intrigue with a tweet: "I don’t know if you guys have ever had one of those….but NEVER again."

The following night, the same fate awaited Angel City FC's Alyssa Thompson during Sunday's game against the Houston Dash. Not even 18-year-old World Cup prodigies are immune to the terror of whatever is in that deathly elixir. Thompson chased it with water but almost immediately spit some of it out onto the grass.

The product is called Hotshot, and its intended purpose is to alleviate cramps. Apparently pickle juice and mustard packets are now too tame for these NWSL trainers, so they use these little drinks to aid the pain of a muscle contraction.

The way Hotshot works, according to Hotshot, is "by triggering the sensory nerves located in your mouth and esophagus" so that your body reacts to what you're consuming, drawing the pain away from the cramp. In spirit, it feels like stubbing your toe because your elbow hurts; now you have a different problem. The evidence for Hotshot's efficacy, by the way, is problematic at best.

What exactly is an athlete drinking when they take a Hotshot? Lime, salt, cassia oil, ginger, and capsaicin extract (from chili peppers) stand out from the list of ingredients. There's also "natural flavor." Get all the experience of a Hot Ones episode, minus the chicken.

As it turns out, Thompson had seen the video of Cooper and had planned to use it as a cautionary tale, until she herself had a cramp and was pushed by a trainer to drink it.

Two out of two NWSL players agree: This stuff's gross!

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