Dana Shires

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Dana L. Shires, Jr.
Born (1932-11-22)November 22, 1932
Coral Gables, Florida
Fields Medicine
Institutions University of Florida, LifeLink Foundation
Alma mater B.S., University of Florida
M.D., University of Florida
Known for Invention of Gatorade, founder of LifeLink Foundation

Dana L. Shires, Jr. (born November 22, 1932) is an American physician, research scientist, and inventor. He was a member of the research team that did the work leading to the invention of Gatorade.[1] He is the co-founder and former CEO of LifeLink Foundation, an organization created to promote, support and assist in the transplantation therapy of organs and tissues.[2]

Early life[edit]

Dana Shires was born in Coral Gables, Florida. His childhood was spent in Virginia and West Virginia. After the end of the Second World War, his family moved back to Florida, where he attended Lee High School, in Jacksonville. With the start of the Korean War, Shires spent three years in the Marine Corps, including a year as part of a Marine aviation squadron on a U.S. aircraft carrier. Following his stint in the Marines, Shires returned to Florida, and in 1954 started his undergraduate studies at the University of Florida. He graduated in 1957, and, inspired by an uncle who was a doctor, continued with medical school in Gainesville, graduating in 1961.[3]

Involvement in the Invention of Gatorade[edit]

In 1965, Dana Shires was a research fellow at the University of Florida working in the nephrology lab under Dr. Robert Cade. During a lunchtime discussion with then Gators assistant coach Dwayne Douglas, Shires became interested in the issue of the players' suffering from dehydration during practice. Douglas had described to Shires how players lost weight and experienced problems with urination. At the time, the prevailing thinking was that players should be discouraged from replenishing liquids lost to sweating during a game.[4] Shires, who had played football in high school, had familiarity with the issue and found the problem interesting, and brought the matter to the attention of Dr. Cade.[5] They, along with Jim Free and Alex de Quesada (two other postdoctoral fellows working in the nephrology lab under Cade), began research on dehydration during physical exertion.[1] During freshman football practice that year, the researchers collected and tested sweat samples. Their testing revealed that each player lost 2.5 to 4.2 liters, or up to 9 pounds, during each practice session.[6]

Under Cade, the team's research ultimately led to the formulation of a beverage that would replenish the sodium, sugar and water lost during strenuous exercise. Originally nicknamed Cade's Cola,[6] the beverage was eventually marketed as Gatorade, and was the first product in what is now the multi-million dollar sports beverage industry.

Dr. Shires has stated, "...perhaps the most important thing that we did was alert people to the necessity of rehydrating in the midst of exercise."[6]

Founding of LifeLink Foundation[edit]

In 1982, Dr. Shires and Alex de Quesada, a colleague in the research and development of Gatorade, started the LifeLink Foundation in Tampa, Florida. According to the organization's mission statement, LifeLink is "dedicated to the recovery of life-saving and life-enhancing organs and tissue for transplantation therapy."[7] As of 2001, LifeLink had a staff of 21 doctors, and performed more than 300 heart, kidney, liver and pancreas transplants per year. The recipients of these organs are often patients who are indigent. Dr. Shires has said, "We've done a lot of good things for people with the [Gatorade] money, and we're grateful for that."[1] In 2012, Dr. Shires serves as LifeLink's Chairman of the Board. His son, Dan, serves as Executive Vice President of LifeLink Tissue Bank, one of six divisions operating under the LifeLink Foundation umbrella.[8]


Dr. Shires has eight children and sixteen grandchildren. He enjoys relaxing at a country home in Sidney Peak Ranch, CO where Dr. Shires star gazes and studies the local wildlife.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c John Walters (July 2, 2001). "The Gatorade Guys". SportsIllustrated.com. 
  2. ^ "LifeLink Mission Statement |". Retrieved August 2, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Interview with Dana Leroy Shires, Jr.". Julian Pleasants. University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries. December 18, 2001. 
  4. ^ "Dr. James Robert Cade- Gatorade inventor". University of Florida College of Medicine. Retrieved August 5, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Interview with Dana Leroy Shires, Jr.". Julian Pleasants. University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries. December 18, 2001. p. 13. 
  6. ^ a b c Neil Amdur (December 2, 2007). "Raise a Glass to the Father of Energy Drinks". New York Times. 
  7. ^ "LifeLink Mission Statement |accessdate=August 2, 2012".  ea
  8. ^ Adam Swift. "LifeLink Tissue Bank". Inside Healthcare Magazine. Retrieved August 5, 2012.  ea
  9. ^ Vicki Collins Edwards (October 2006). "Home On the Colorado Range". Scottsdale Magazine. 

External links[edit]