NFL

Christian McCaffrey Has His Recovery Ritual Down to a Science

Christian McCaffrey is one of the NFL’s brightest young running backs. His dedication combined with his gazelle-like speed and superhuman physique is tailor-made for success. With an ankle injury sidelining him for the foreseeable future, however, McCaffrey may have to use one of his favorite possessions as he tries to recover and return to the field.

Christian McCaffrey’s road to success

Christian McCaffrey of the Carolina Panthers warms up before a game
Christian McCaffrey of the Carolina Panthers warms up | Grant Halverson/Getty Images

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McCaffrey has been a surefire star since college. Spending most of his freshman season playing spotty minutes off the bench, McCaffrey got to watch firsthand as one of the best football programs in the country took the field. By year two, however, McCaffrey was ready to be in on the action. He rushed onto the national scene with 2,000 yards and eight touchdowns as a sophomore. This was good enough for second in Heisman voting.

After another phenomenal year at Stanford in 2016, however, McCaffrey was ready for the big leagues. McCaffrey didn’t have to wait long at the NFL draft. With the eighth overall pick, they took a chance on the Heisman-nominee to help give them the running power they needed next to Cam Newton and company. Unfortunately, McCaffrey’s entrance coincided with the eventual downfall of Cam Newton with the team. Despite this, McCaffrey was a problem.

After two commendable years with the Panthers, McCaffrey broke out in 2019. He rushed for 1,387 yards and 15 touchdowns. Not only did this help keep the Panthers afloat, but it also got him a mention on the NFL’s First-Team All-Pro — no small task for a 23-year-old. However, after just two games on the field this year, McCaffrey was sidelined with an ankle injury. Luckily, his devotion to fitness and recovery could help keep him sharp while he waits to return. 

McCaffrey’s dedication to fitness

Speaking with GQ Sports, McCaffrey discussed the 10 things he couldn’t live without. Mixed with all of the gizmos and gadgets one expects from a millionaire athlete was a sauna. For the average person, a sauna might seem like something reserved for gyms and spas. For McCaffrey, however, it’s a vital aspect of his life as a professional athlete. 

“One of my favorite essentials is my sauna,” McCaffrey said. “It’s a infrared sauna, but it’s meant for heat as well. Something that I use on the daily. I come home from practice, come home from a workout, and I hop in the sauna. If it’s an off day I hop in the sauna — about 30-40 minutes. It’s got speakers in there. I can listen to music and get a good sweat in. It’s a good thing for my recovery. 

This is no surprise for those who follow McCaffrey. He spoke last year about his love for innovations such as saunas because they help his body react well to whatever is thrown its way. 

“I do just about everything you can think of,” McCaffrey told Panthers Wire. “Contrast bath. Sauna. Infrared sauna. Hyperbaric chamber. Cryotherapy, all that stuff. I don’t have one myself, unfortunately, my contract isn’t as big as Lebron’s, but I definitely use all those tools.” He appears to have bought his own sauna since. 

When will McCaffrey return?

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After missing week three of the season, the Panthers expect McCaffrey to come back anywhere from four to six weeks, reports CBS Sports. One thing they can be assured by, however, is his dedication to that grand return. McCaffrey takes his fitness seriously, and if nothing else goes wrong from now until his eventual return, he should be good to go by the end of the season. 

Still young, McCaffrey’s dedication to workouts, practice, and self-help might be the key to a long career. With his first significant injury, fans just have to see how he can come back