Column: Health

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The deaths of six high-school football players during the 1988 season were directly related to their participation in the sport, a new survey has found.

Ten other players' deaths were due to overexertion or complications secondary to a nonfatal injury, according to the annual survey of football injuries by the National Federation of State High School Associations and the American Football Coaches Committee on Football Injuries.

Four of the six deaths linked directly to the game occurred as a result of head injuries sustained during tackling or blocking.

The two others were due to a fractured cervical vertebra and to cardiac arrest brought on by a helmut blow to the chest.

Of the 10 deaths that were determined to be indirectly linked to participation on a team, six involved heart failure.

The other students died as a result of asthma attacks, heat strokes, and a ruptured spleen associated with mononucleosis.

In 1987, four students died as a result of injuries directly linked to the sport, and an additional three died as a result of indirect injuries.

To reduce the number of head and neck injuries, the researchers recommended that athletes be given proper conditioning exercises and that coaches discourage players from using their heads as battering rams when blocking or tackling.

They also recommended that players be required to undergo medical examinations before being allowed to participate.

Children between the ages of 1 and 4 are being underserved by the federal Women, Infants, and Children nutrition program, a new study has concluded.

The study by the Food Research and Action Center, a Washington advocacy group, found that only 38 percent of low-income children in this age group who are classified as at "nutritional risk" are being served by the program.

Nearly 3 million eligible children are not receiving benefits, according to estimates in the report, which was funded by the Ford Foundation.

Nationally, about half of the 7.5 million eligible women, infants, and children are served by the non-entitlement program.

The study included a survey of state wic directors, which found that 84 percent of the officials believe inadequate funding prevents them from serving all those who are eligible and want to receive benefits.

About one-fourth of the state directors said they could not serve older preschool children or those who have poor diets but have not yet developed a serious medical condition.

Frac estimates that all eligible recipients could be served by federal program if funding were increased by between 5 and 7 percent a year above the inflation rate over the next four or five years.--ef

Vol. 08, Issue 38

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