Jan 29, 2015
Cold Comfort

By the end of the 2009 hockey season, the cooling tubs at Yale University’s Ingalls Rink had outlived their usefulness. They were too small to fit large groups of student-athletes, required a lot of ice to keep cold, and were time-consuming to drain between uses. With a new PolarPool™, installed as part of the rink’s 2010 rededication, all those problems disappeared.


“After a game or practice, our hockey players are generally are pretty sore from the waist down,” says Assistant Athletic Trainer Richard Kaplan, MEd, ATC, who works with both the men’s and women’s teams. “The PolarPool™ is a great device for applying cold, especially to groins, hip flexors, and difficult places to reach. Instead of worrying about where to put the ice bag, players can just jump in up to their chests, stretch out for 10 minutes, and quickly feel the benefits.”

The PolarPool™ fits four members of the men’s team or five members of the women’s team at any one time, and when that first group is done, the tub is ready for the next and the one after that, with no need to adjust the temperature. Made of lightweight fiberglass, it is portable enough to take on the road, and remains sterile with little effort.

Maintenance is simple. Once a week, Kaplan checks the chemical levels, occasionally adding a little sea salt. Once a month, he drains and refills the tub, which takes about 15 minutes. “It’s very, very low-maintenance, which is one of the reasons I chose it,” he says. “And it was simple to install, too. The movers literally rolled it through the door, plugged it in, and that was it.”

In the year since, the men’s team grabbed the ECAC title, reaching the Frozen Four for the first time in program history, and student-athletes have credited the pool with helping them stay injury-free. “Athletes tell me it helps them recover,” he says. “The science that supports them is very clear: Cold decreases pain and inflammation. After a tough game or workout, the PolarPool™ makes them feel better, and as long as it does, they’ll keep using it.”

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