PEWAUKEE, Wis. – J.J. Watt is one of the best defensive ends in the league. He takes on big players and makes huge tackles. To say he's tough might be an understatement. But what happens when he spends the day as a firefighter in his home town?
Watt and his father, John Watt, visited the Pewaukee fire station so that Watt could see what it's like to train as a firefighter in full gear.
"I know that we're somewhat different kind of athletes but I know you guys are athletes too, so I wanted to test out a different type of workout. My dad has been a firefighter for 28 years before he retired," Watt said.
The firefighters gave Watt a firefighter uniform and put him through the workout.
"The ensemble that we wear is 50-75 pounds once we have a pack and everything on. Unlike an athlete, we don't know when the game is and and we don't know how long it's going to be, so we have to be pre-hydrated and ready to go," Lt. Marvin Henry said.
Watt pulled water hoses, climbed flights of stairs and put out fires in 86-degree weather while wearing gear.
"You still have all your stuff on for long periods of time, and it's a difficult situation at best, and especially on a warm day like today," John Watt said.
This challenge was part of Gatorade's "Beat the Heat" educational campaign. The program teaches young athletes the importance of heat safety and staying hydrated during the summer.
It was also an opportunity for Watt to realize what his father went through for more than two decades.
"At the end of the day, if I screw up, I have a bad play. Theirs is life and death," Watt said. "To me there's no comparison. We get headlines, we're playing a game. These guys don't get the headlines, but they're the ones saving lives."