More than half of the high-school football players in Minnesota are injured at some time during a season, and 31 percent are injured seriously enough to keep them on the sidelines for a week or more.
Those are some of the findings of a new study by the Institute for Athletic Medicine in Minneapolis; the researchers say they are probably typical for the nation. The study, published this month in the The Physician and Sportsmedicine, is based on a survey of 101 coaches and 3,061 players conducted after the 1977 season.
Injuries to the neck and back, which lead to the most chronic or crippling conditions affecting athletes, account for 5 percent and 8 percent of the injuries, respectively, said Susan Goodwin Gerberich, the research director of the institute.
Neglect of rules continues to be a major cause of serious injuries, the study said. Thirty-three percent of the players surveyed said they used the illegal "butt block," and 43 percent said they used the illegal "face tackle." In both maneuvers, the player uses his helmet as the main weapon.
The study also found that players in large leagues are more likely to be injured than players in small leagues and that private-school athletes are more prone to injury than public-school athletes.
The report was written by Ms. Gerberich; James Priest, an orthopedic surgeon; James Boen, professor of biometry at the university; and Conrad Straub, professor emeritus of environmental health.
Two researchers from Michigan State University this month started a one-year study of drug use among college athletes.
William A. Anderson, associate professor with the university's office of medical education research and development, and Douglas McKeag, the university's team physician, will base their report on a survey of about 1,500 athletes in 10 sports around the country.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association is funding the study with a $25,000 grant.
H. Ross Perot, the Dallas computer magnate who heads a state committee on education, has tackled one of the more popular institutions in Texas--high-school football.
Mr. Perot this month launched a public campaign to correct what he says is an overemphasis on interscholastic athletic programs. At a public hearing, Mr. Perot closely questioned high-school officials about the amount of time and money spent on football at the expense of other school programs.
Mr. Perot, appointed chairman of a blue-ribbon committee on education by Gov. Mark White and the state legislature, said many districts in the state build large high schools and allow students to repeat a year in school only to improve the competitiveness of their high-school teams.
Mr. Perot, a millionaire who once financed a commando rescue of two employees from an Iranian prison, said he took on the campaign because "the newsworthiness of my name" might help it succeed.--ce