Firefighters are athletes who stay in shape because lives might be at stake
b y S I M O N G O N Z A L E Z
p h o t o g r a p h y b y A L L I S O N P O T T E R
WBM february 2020
J.J. Watt is struggling. Watt is a pro-fessional
athlete, an All-Pro defen-sive
end with the Houston Texans,
but he’s having a hard time with the
demands of this workout.
He went back to his hometown to
work out with the local fire depart-ment.
He donned full turnout gear
— coat, pants, boots, helmet — and
did the kind of training and test-ing
typical of firefighters across the
country. He lifted hoses, dragged
dummies, swung a sledgehammer,
and climbed stairs. He gasped and
Watt performed the tasks for a video
produced by a sports drink company
to show the importance of hydra-tion.
But what it really shows is the
incredible fitness levels of the peo-ple
who do this on a regular basis.
They might not be professional
football players but, like Watt,
they are definitely athletes.
Wrightsville Beach firefighter Sam Proffitt carries
a 100-pound D-Ball on his shoulder in front of the