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Notre Dame Football

Captain Notes with Khalid Kareem | Louisville Memories, Road Games, Importance of Recovery

October 7, 2023

No. 10 Notre Dame hits the road for another primetime matchup as the Irish are set to take on No. 25 Louisville on Saturday evening. 

The Fighting Irish have only made one trip to Louisville and came away with a 35-17 victory in 2019. Former Notre Dame captain Khalid Kareem was on that team and remembers pulling away in the second half, but also an interesting memory from the start. 

“My only memories from the game in 2019 were dislocating my finger in the first drive and then again in the 4th quarter,” Kareem told ISD. “That was frustrating, to say the least. But as a team it was an exciting game. I think it was on a Monday night so we were the only game on (perks of going to Notre Dame). Everyone played a role in that game.

“A couple of the young guys were making plays both on offense and defense, so I was happy to see them experience college football on that stage.” 

Notre Dame will play its third night game in a row and next weekend’s showdown with USC will also be under the lights. 

Kareem has played in several night games and believes keeping a routine is a significant key to success. 

“It’s a privilege to play in night games in my opinion,” explained Kareem. “It shows you that it’s a ‘big time game’ in everyone’s eyes. But like I say week in and week out, you have to treat it like a normal game. You can’t allow yourself to get caught up in the hype and hysteria of college football. Just hone in on your routine, don’t try to do too much outside of the norm, and everything will work out smoothly.” 

With four night games in a row, Notre Dame’s recovery process will be key to staying fresh as the Irish also play eight games before its first bye week. 

College football can be exhausting and looking back, Kareem feels he could have taken a few more steps to stay fresher during the year during his time in South Bend. 

“Recovery is so important and I wished I would’ve taken things more seriously in college,” stated Kareem. “Sleep and nutrition were a big one. KJust like any other college student I went to sleep at late hours of the night. I ate what I wanted to some degree. I still had to make weight and perform well in practice and in games to keep my starting spot bcause I had some dawgs right behind me ready to take over if I ever slipped up - and honestly pushed me to be great, having studs in the room like Ade (Ogundeji), Jamir (Jones), Daelin (Hayes), Julian (Okwara), (Isaiah) Foskey - you only have two options: elevate or watch others pass you by.

“But now nutrition is huge for me, eating whole plant-based foods to limit any inflammation I may have to give me the clean energy to go out and compete every day. I try treating sleep like a recovery session, making sure that nothing throws my schedule off and that I’m taking full advantage of this time, that I’m in bed by 10 o’clock so that I can get my full 8/9 hours of sleep and feel recovered the next morning.” 

Kareem also added Pilates to his NFL recovery schedule when he was with the Cincinnati Bengals. 

“Another method of recovery/training that I use is Pilates,” said Kareem. “I started working with Ashley Bartlett during my first offseason and started seeing the results. Consistency was key here. I saw her three or four times a week during the season to make sure that my body was moving and operating smoothly. Even now I still work with her, we’ll do virtual sessions just to stay on top of things.

“Lastly, the thing I’d say I do that I didn’t in college is invest in my body, actually using the resources that are available to me to improve myself. And if they are not available, pay to have the right people around to get me to where I need to be so I can be my best.” 

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