Athletics Column

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An annual national survey of football injuries has found that offensive players were much less likely to be seriously injured than defensive players last year.

The report--the sixth by Frederick O. Mueller and Carl S. Blythe, both of the University of North Carolina's physical-education department--said 11 players received "catastrophic injuries" last fall.

The incidence of injuries that resulted in permanent paralysis was low, according to the researchers--a rate of 0.72 per 100,000 players. But the causes of the injuries are common to all players.

Eight of the players who were seriously injured were hurt while making tackles and five of them were using their heads in the tackle.

The rate of serious injuries has declined in the last six years from previous years, the report said, but strong initiatives are still needed to eliminate the problem.

Seven of the injured players were on high-school teams, two were on college teams, one was on a semi-professional team, and one was in a high-school alumni game.

Among the researchers' recommendations: better enforcement of a 1976 rule of the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the National Federation of State High School Associations that bars using the head in blocking and tackling.

They also suggested better team conditioning and having a physician present during games and practices.

The researchers are working on a similar survey of injuries in all high-school and collegiate sports. That report will be completed this summer.

A proposal to abolish California's requirement that students take physical-education through the 10th grade has sparked a debate about the state curriculum.

William Hamm, the legislature's budget analyst, said the requirement should be dropped because it sets questionable priorities for schools. The state does not have as strict requirements for mathematics, science, or English, Mr. Hamm said.

A subcommittee of the Senate Finance Committee rejected the proposal last month.

The selection of the first Olympic Games baseball team is entering its second phase.

Baseball coaches from high schools, junior colleges, and amateur leagues last month submitted recommendations of 17- and 18-year-old players for the team to the National Federation of State High School Associations.

Seventy-two players eventually will be selected for four regional teams for the National Sports Festival this summer. An official at the federation said the competition will be an exhibition for the selection of the Olympic team.

The "demonstration" in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles will mark baseball's debut in the competition. Baseball officials are pressing for inclusion of the sport as a regular activity by the 1988 Games in Korea.

The athletic director of a Florida high school resigned last month after the Florida High School Activities Association found that the school's football and wrestling coach had used ineligible players in scholastic competition.

Carl Burden, the former athletic director of Ribault High School in Jacksonville, will remain at the school as a physical-education teacher.

Duval County's superintendent of schools, Herbert Sang, said that although Mr. Burden did not sanction the use of ineligible players, he knew about them and that was reason enough for him to be dismissed.

Coach Donald Gaffney, a former University of Florida football star, used three ineligible athletes on both the football and wrestling teams.

The practice was discovered when an opposing coach noticed three athletes wrestling for Ribault under assumed names.

College administrators do not adequately challenge the "agenda" of the professional sports establishment, which is based on money and distorts the values of colleges and students. And the situation is getting worse because of the new United States Football League.

That was the charge leveled at college leaders by Ernest L. Boyer, the president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching at the recent Sports and Higher Education Conference in Sarasota Springs, N.Y.

"Today, gambling, television, and professional sports have their own agenda. And it's money," Mr. Boyer said. "Students are simply used as raw material for the profit-makers. And the nation's campuses have become the farm clubs of pro football and basketball."

The usfl, Mr. Boyer said, will probably increase the demand for athletes and result in even more recruitment of players before graduation.

Mr. Boyer praised the National Collegiate Athletic Association's controversial Rule 48, which sets tougher academic standards for Division I freshman eligibility.

A Kansas state legislator's initiative to reduce the number of high-school basketball games failed to go anywhere this term, but it might be considered again next year.

Representative Anita Niles introduced a resolution in the education committee of the state House of Representatives last month, but it was tabled after a tie vote.

The resolution--which would not have carried any legal force--would have recommended a limit of nine games and one tournament. High schools now play in 18 games and one or two tournaments.

Ms. Niles said she sponsored the resolution mainly to cut the time that rural schools devote to games. Two districts in the state, she said, have moved to four-day weeks, and one of them has made a round trip of 164 miles for a basketball game.

Ms. Niles, a 6th-grade teacher for 19 years, said she might sponsor an bill next year that would set a legal limit on the number of games that schools could play.--ce

Vol. 02, Issue 29

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