86 mem­bers of ASU’s foot­ball team take part in Phoenix Fire Depart­ment train­ing

The Arizona Republic - - News - Bree Burkitt

ASU foot­ball play­ers traded in their hel­mets for fire­fight­ers’ hel­mets Satur­day.

Eighty-six Sun Devils foot­ball play­ers spent their morn­ing at the Phoenix Fire Depart­ment Train­ing Academy, get­ting a first­hand ex­pe­ri­ence of what it’s like to be a fire­fighter.

The team watched fire­fight­ers ex­tin­guish a car fire and took part in ve­hi­cle ex­trac­tions, rap­pelling and other hands-on train­ing.

This was the first year Phoenix fire reached out to the foot­ball team as part of a re­cruit­ment ef­fort.

Phoenix fire Capt. Larry Su­bervi said a ca­reer in fire­fight­ing would be a log­i­cal move for the foot­ball play­ers as they leave col­lege. About 200 mem­bers of the depart­ment were col­lege ath­letes.

“Ath­letes are used to train­ing ex­tremely hard,” Su­bervi said. “They’re used to work­ing in less than ad­mirable con­di­tions. They work on hol­i­days. Ninety-nine per­cent of what they do is to play a game 1 per­cent of the time. That’s ex­actly what we do.”

He added the pas­sion and the fam­ily-like at­mos­phere found in most fire sta­tions is sim­i­lar to the feel of a foot­ball team.

Both of­fen­sive line­man Cohl Cabral and run­ning back Eno Ben­jamin said they ex­pected the fire train­ing to be phys­i­cal, but were sur­prised by how chal­leng­ing it was to cut a hole through the roof of a smoky build­ing and con­trol the fire hoses.

“It’s about be­ing able to go to bat­tle with your brothers,” Ben­jamin said.

Cabral said he’s pre­vi­ously con­sid­ered a ca­reer in emer­gency re­sponse since he has mul­ti­ple fam­ily mem­bers in the field.

Su­bervi said they hope to ex­pand their re­cruit­ing ef­forts to other sports teams at ASU in ad­di­tion to North­ern Ari­zona Univer­sity and Univer­sity of Ari­zona. Typ­i­cally, the depart­ment hires about 75 new re­cruits each year.

“We’re sav­ing peo­ple’s lives,” he said. “To do that, we want peo­ple like these who have col­lege de­grees and know how to work hard.”

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