Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


July 11, 2013

This glass of water is for you, Coach Iarrobino

Longtime Andover Legion coach Joe Iarrobino admits he is a pain in the neck when it comes to forcing water to his players, particularly during a hot day like Saturday when his team had a double-header.

He went up and down the dugout, two or three times, imploring his players to drink the necessary water.

About five innings into the game, he began to realize something. He didn’t heed his own advice.

During Andover’s game against Lawrence, Iarrobino was waving a guy home from second base — “like a windmill,” he said — when he felt a pain under his left armpit.

It was a cramp. Or make that, the most painful cramp he ever felt.

“You know how your hamstring or your calf cramps while you’re in bed sometimes,” Iarrobino said. “Well, this felt 10 times worse. I hollered over to my assistant Peter Byron, who was coaching at first base, and I told him to take over at third base. I quietly walked around the dugout, without anybody noticing, and I laid down.”

The next thing he knew, a few parents came over and they realized he was dehydrated. They tried pumping him with water and Gatorade. It didn’t really help as he got cramps in his neck, calf and even his hands.

“I had a bypass in 2009 and I wasn’t sure if this was heart-related,” Iarrobino said. “It was scary.”

He stayed behind the dugout until the game ended and his daughter, a nurse, arrived to make sure he was OK. An ambulance arrived, checked his vitals and took him to the hospital, where he remained overnight, taking in three large IV bags.

Iarrobino had suffered major dehydration and doctors told him he was lucky it didn’t result in liver damage.

“I learned a big lesson,” said Iarrobino, who is 70. “I need to stay hydrated, too. I was there about 90 minutes before the game, cleaning up the field, threw some batting practice and soft toss. It was 95 degrees out. I wasn’t prepared. Trust me, I will listen to my advice next time.”

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