IN BED WITH: Zach Pascal, Wide Receiver for the Indianapolis Colts
Zach Pascal (born December 18, 1994, in Upper Marlboro, Md) is a wide receiver for the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League. He played college football at Old Dominion. In the Colts' season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals, Pascal made his NFL debut and had a lone reception for 18 yards to go along with two kick returns for 54 net yards. On September 30, he scored his first NFL touchdown with a pass from Andrew Luck in an overtime loss to the Houston Texans.
1. You have one of the most sought-after jobs in the world; at any given time there are a million kids that dream of growing up to play in the NFL. What do you love about your career so far? Did you always know this is what you wanted to do?
I have always known I was destined to be in the NFL. I love the fact that I have the power to inspire so many young people in this world and show them that, no matter what the situation, you can always make your dreams come true.
2. As a rookie player, how do the physical demands of playing in the league compare to those of college ball?
The physical demands are big and they only get bigger in the league. The combination of years of playing and increased level of competition is rough. No matter what level you are playing at, the key is taking care of your body, especially taking care to recover properly.
3. In your opinion, what impact do nutrition and sleep have on the overall health of an athlete during training and the regular season? Is it a factor when it comes to injury rates?
Nutrition and sleep for me are 65% of the reason most athletes are successful. If your body is not well rested there is no way it can perform. During training, sleep is probably the most important thing as our bodies are pushed to the max every day. During regular season, it helps with longevity. Being unrested can lead to mistakes and, in this game, mistakes can be deadly.
4. Let’s talk away-games: it’s a well-known fact that most professional athletes play better at home. Beyond fan support of playing a home game, do you think this has something to do with the athletes sleeping in their own beds? How do you think jet-lag and tiredness from travel effects athletic performance for away-games?
Unfortunately, before every game, we stay in hotels so I don't get the chance to sleep in my own bed, but there is definitely something comforting about my own space. But in a sense our 'home hotel' is my second home during the season. So yes, I think the comfortability of routine for a home game favours a team. When travelling, jet-lag can affect our bodies due to being in a different time zone and pressure differences in the air. To combat this, I try and adjust the time I go to sleep all week before the game if we are playing a team with a significant time difference.
5. Back at home, in your own bed, what’s your secret to getting a great night’s sleep?
I'm pretty regimented about the time I go to bed to make sure I get all my hours of sleep. Choosing just the right position for whatever my body has been through that day is key as well.
6. You get to sleep in. If you could have anything, what’s your ideal breakfast-in-bed?
My ideal breakfast-in-bed would be eggs, bacon, french toast and orange juice.
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