📸 Through The Lens | Ice

Kansas Jayhawks

Kansas Athletics staff photographer Jeff Jacobsen shares his memories of what he saw “Through the Lens” from his 23-year career with the Jayhawks.

Photographing any KU sport in the past 23 years has proven to me just how wondrously the human body was created and evolved to allow feats of strength, endurance, explosive power and grace. In addition, many of those photographs shockingly prove that the price these sports charge student-athletes to train and perform almost endlessly is disturbingly high.

KU’s training rooms are filled with state-of-the-art machines and equipment designed to ease pain, improve flexibility, heal wounds and strains. Most are quite expensive. Yet, in every training room, there is a machine, that for 24-hours-a-day, churns out a magical cure that dates back to the dawn of mankind. So many student-athletes using this cure come back the next day with dramatic speed to train and compete. All this comes at a minimal price.

The cure? ICE!

Nothing more than simple water frozen into blocks, cubes and crushed slush is scooped out of that ice-making machine to be poured into buckets and tubs. Even children’s swimming pools become recovery ice baths at swim meets. It fills ice bags that are wrapped around every possible extremity. It eases the internal trauma of competition held during Kansas’ torturously hot and humid days. Ice is the first-line defense that provides instant relief, refreshes bodies, reduces inflammation and lifts spirits, of course only after that initial, “Oh my” shock of the treatment wears off.

The 15-20 minutes of ice therapy allows time for thoughts, reflection, conversation and laughter. It aids the body and eases the mind. Ice even helped draw attention to a terrible, debilitating disease with the “Ice Bucket Challenge.”

In 2014, having a bucket of ice water dumped over people’s heads became a world-wide internet video sensation. It brought awareness of the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as ALS, or in the United States as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The disease kills motor neurons to the body’s voluntary muscles, causing a variety of weakening and painful steps leading to death.

The challenge raised money for research to help ease the debilitating symptoms of the incurable disease. Kansas Athletic teams and coaches joined in the challenge, represented here by the men’s basketball team.

As we live in a cloistered world due to the COVID-19 virus, the next time you drop ice into a glass inside your home-turned-workplace, look at those cubes and ponder what that frozen water has done in so many ways beyond just cooling a drink. Cheers.