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High-school athletic participation last year reached its highest level since the 1980-81 school year, according to a survey by the National Federation of State High School Associations.

Participation increased by 41,820, bringing the total to nearly 5.3 million nationwide, reported the survey, which is conducted annually. Girls' sports accounted for 80 percent of the increase.

While participation climbed, however, school sponsorship of some sports dropped slightly. The federation speculated that the inconsistency could stem from schools' combining teams to reduce costs.

Football remained the most popular sport for boys, although it lost 6,334 participants from the previous year. Soccer gained the most male participants during the period.

The fastest-growing sport for girls was fast-pitch softball, while basketball remained the most popular sport with girls.

Proposed amendments to National Collegiate Athletic Association rules governing the recruitment of highschool athletes could hamper reforms N.c.A.A. leaders began last January when they adopted tougher recruiting and academic standards, two reform leaders have charged.

The Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, the former president of the University of Notre Dame, and William Friday, the former president of the University of North Carolina, late last month issued a statement saying that enactment of the amendments would "water down the progress we have already made."

Father Hesburgh and Mr. Friday are co-chairmen of the Knight Foundation Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, an independent panel that is charged with making reform recommendations to the N.C.A.A.

The amendments under consideration would extend the length of spring football practice and repeal a change made last January that allowed recruiters to make only three visits to a high-school athlete instead of eight.

Mr. Friday and Father Hesburgh said they were encouraging college and university presidents to attend the N.C.A.A. annual convention in January so that they could vote against the enactment of the amendments.

Nearly one in five Americans lived with an alcoholic while growing up, a new federal survey has found.

The nationwide survey, conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, found that 21.4 percent of individuals ages 18 to 44 and 16.5 percent of those ages 45 to 64 had lived with an alcoholic at some time before they turned 18. More than 80 percent of those responding affirmatively had lived with an alcoholic for at least five years, and 40 percent had lived with someone with an alcohol problem during their entire childhoods.

White adults were more likely than black adults to have lived with an alcoholic during their childhoods, and college-educated individuals were the least likely to have been raised by an alcoholic, the survey found. . Girls who participated in four pregnancy-prevention programs offered by a national youth group were significantly less likely to have sex or get pregnant than other high-risk girls, the group has reported.

Girls Inc., formerly called Girls Clubs of America, found that young teenagers who participated in either of two programs stressing communication with parents and assertiveness training were half as likely to initiate sexual intercourse during a three- year study period as girls who did not participate in a program.

In addition, older teenagers who participated in two other programs were far more likely than their peers who did not participate to use birth control if they had sex, the group found in its review of the four pregnancy-prevention efforts.

A total of 755 girls participated in the four programs in four different cities. All the girls volunteered for the programs, and girls who did not want the extra training were the study's control group. .

Vol. 11, Issue 06

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