LSU Health New Orleans Newsroom

What's a Who Dat to Do?

Saints game

Meet LSU Health New Orleans’ Brittney Wright. She’s is a speech-language pathologist. She is also a Saints fan. A rabid Saints fan. And therein lies her dilemma.

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Professionally speaking, she’ll tell you about the harm that people screaming at the top of their lungs are doing to their vocal cords. But personally, she knows that a fan’s duty is to be loud and proud when the Saints’ defense is on the field.

;During the Saints-Eagles playoff game, it was no contest between her professional sensibility and her 12th-man responsibility. All of her professional wisdom came into play about as successfully as Chicago Bears’ Cody Parkey’s field goal attempt in the final seconds of the Wildcard Game that sent the Eagles to New Orleans. Wright screamed her head off, and four days later, she is still hoarse.

Brittney Wright at Saints game
Wright’s colleague, Molly Brouillette explains exactly what making that intense and prolonged crowd noise does. “When you speak, your vocal cords or folds, (two bands of muscle on opposite sides of the larynx) snap together, vibrating as air rushes by to produce sound waves,” says Brouillette. “When you yell, the folds tense and strain, which can lead to irritation, inflammation and nodules, all of which result in hoarseness.”

Her advice -- don’t do it. While she allows that fans can yell a little more intelligently, like not permitting your scream to outlast the capacity of its preceding breath, there is really no effective, totally safe way to scream.

Being in the Dome when it’s her turn to use the family’s tickets, Brouillette knows that a fan’s gotta do what a fan’s gotta do. So, she has some tips to help you recover your voice faster and not continue to damage it.
Molly Brouillette
• Rest your voice.

• If you can’t give it total rest, speak as little as possible.

• Drink water.

• DO NOT WHISPER.

• DO NOT PROJECT.

• Drink more water.

• DO NOT SMOKE.

• Do not drink alcohol or caffeinated beverages.

• DO NOT CLEAR YOUR THOAT.

• Drink some more water.

• Do not take decongestants.

• Sleeping with a humidifier in the room can help.

• Drink even more water.
While gargling with warm salt water may provide a little sensory relief to an irritated throat, it really doesn’t treat your vocal cords.

And if your hoarseness lasts more than three weeks, see an otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat doctor.)

Wright is fully aware of the effects of wildly screaming every defensive down, so she doesn’t do it to that degree every game. But Playoff Game 1 against the Eagles she says, “was a big game, a really big game. And big games require big sacrifices! I hope the Who Dat Nation has recovered sufficiently to blast the Rams right out of the Dome on Sunday with wave after wave of 70,000-strong walls of sound! Who Dat!!”

Brouillette has a different solution. “Just keep the offense on the field! Who Dat!”