December 6, 2022

Florida Icon

Icon: James Robert Cade

Physician, Gatorade Inventor. Cade died Nov. 27 at age 80.

| 1/1/2008

The following is excerpted from a 1996 interview as part of the University of Florida Samuel Proctor Oral History Project.

Cade in 1999 [Photo:Gainesville Sun]
» I think I was surrounded with a bunch of people who loved me. That would make any childhood good.

» (In high school) I played a game, how low a grade could I make and not fail. You really have to know your history to end up with a 61 average at the end of the year. If you take a history test with 10 questions and you write an essay, and you want to make 61 but you do not want to make a 59, you have to know what to leave out.

» My mother used to come in and sit behind me and listen to me practice (violin). One of those times she said, I think you are among the 10,000 best violinists in the world. I said, mother, thank you, but how many violinists do you think there are in the world? She said, probably 11,000 or 12,000.

» When I graduated from high school, my mother had me going to college. I went off and joined the Navy. I did a lot of reading in the Navy. I made lists of words I did not know, and I would look them up and learn them.

» When I went to the university, I enrolled as a history major. My roommate was pre-med. He told me I was too dumb to get into medical school.

» I did not really have any family pressure from anyone to do anything or to choose any career. I have never considered myself to be a driven person.

» I did not belong to (a fraternity). I still think that is sort of a waste of time.

» The first place we went to, after (son) Michael was born, was to see the Cardinals play. Stan Musial got up, and he hit a line drive to the right field. The right fielder for Philadelphia jumped out, and the ball hit his glove as he fell on the ground. Stan Musial was out. He turned around and was walking back to the Cardinal dugout when Michael woke up and started screaming bloody murder. Stan Musial looked up at him and said, ‘Kid, that is the way I feel, too.’

» Teaching students, you feel responsible for them, but taking care of a sick patient, you have a much bigger responsibility and a far more serious one. You make mistakes, people die. I have made mistakes that killed people. I have cried a lot when patients died.

» Dwayne Douglas (former player and football coach) ... frequently came by when we were finishing an experiment in the lab. One day, he said, ‘My football players do not wee-wee during the game.’ I found out that during a game in the early part of the year, perhaps in September, he (Douglas) would lose up to 18 pounds during the course of one football game. He did not wee-wee because he lost so much sweating. Basically, he had nothing left to make wee-wee with.

» We asked (UF football Coach Ray Graves) if we could do a study of his football players. He said he really did not understand what I was talking about, but if I could give him a better football team in the fourth quarter, he was interested.

» We collected the sweat to see what was in it and what was coming out in the sweat. The actual collection of that data took just a week. The solution was to give them water, but with salt in it, to replace at least to a large degree the salt they were losing in sweat. Give them sugar to keep their blood sugar up, but do not give them so much sugar that it will affect how the stomach and intestine work.

» The first three guys on the bench were Bennett, a safety man; Benson, a tackle; and Larry Gagner, a guard. I handed a cup of the stuff to Benson, and he said, ‘What is this?’ I told him, this is a glucose electrolyte solution. ... Not only would he keep his energy during the game, but if he kept drinking it throughout the game, at the end he would feel better and be stronger. He took it and just gluggled it all down and wanted another cup. The next guy was Gagner. He sort of sipped it. He said, ‘This stuff tastes like piss.’ He poured it on his head because it was cold, and that would cool him off. I handed a cup to Bennett who was right next to Gagner. He said, ‘Larry, it does not taste like piss to me.’ He glugged it down. Each time I came around during the first half, Gagner would take his and pour it on his head. The other guys would drink it and comment on how good it was. I could not get into the argument at that time because I had never tasted piss. Toward the end of the first half, Gagner took his cup and drank it down. He said, ‘Doc, I have decided I like the taste of piss.’ He drank a couple of cups every time he came out after that for the rest of the game.

Tags: Florida Icon, Education, Healthcare

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