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Sep-24-2009 00:20TweetFollow @OregonNews
Football: A Blood Sport No More Dangerous Than DrivingDr. Phil Leveque Salem-News.com
The big story recently is/was about the high school boy who dropped dead in practice and his coach was sued for involuntary manslaughter.
(MOLALLA, Ore.) - Believe it or not I am not targeting football. Basketball, hockey, soccer and water polo are all blood sports and wrestling, pro and non-pro, fits in there someplace. The name of the game in all of these “sports” is to disable your opponent whether you are on defense or attack.
Why do you think football players wear those cocoons of steel and durable plastic? Actually it was President Teddy Roosevelt who called coaches together in 1905 when 18 college players were killed. Their head gear and pads were a bad joke. I know, I used some of that stuff in the 1930’s.
I played Touch Football in the thirties when I was in grade school. Then as now the name of the game was DISABLE YOUR OPPONENT(S) before you got disabled yourself.
In high school as a sophomore I probably weighed about 130 pounds and some of my classmates out-weighed me by 100 pounds. I was a “wildcat”. We were usually small in size and weight – fourth stringers – not even third or second but we wanted to assert our “manhood” like the real jocks. I really enjoyed it. We played against other schools wildcats but it was still a blood sport – real battle.
My senior year I finally weighed about 145 pounds soaking wet carrying a towel but I thought and hoped I might get in a few games to get a big-time LETTER.
Football training is severe, most of us were mushy the first of August when training started. Some of the big guys had summer labor jobs and were “ready”, most of us weren’t. The big story recently is/was about the high school boy who dropped dead in practice and his coach was sued for involuntary manslaughter. This was a severe tragedy but his death and new training rules will save many boys in grade school, high school, college and even pro players.
Many players of all ages use steroids and adrenaline like and caffeine stimulants to give them a better “edge”. They boy above was an ADD patient using Adderal, a super potent adrenaline like drug which by itself causes hypermetabolism and high body temperature. In his case his temperature went up to 107 degrees which is nearly always fatal.
NO OTHER BOY WILL BE ALLOWED TO USE THIS DRUG AND PLAY A CONTACT SPORT AGAIN!
Back to my own case – during real practice I tried to block my opponent. He raised his knee just as I was about to block. My helmet was third rate (third squad). I must have damaged my optic nerve and my vision was cloudy for about a week.
That was enough! I became a cheerleader in high school and college and also championship mile and distance runner. I was beaten only twice in five track meets. He was two years older than I was and Oregon State high school champion.
Dozens of school boys, college men and even pro footballers have died playing football. For most they died doing what they enjoyed most. I enjoyed it even if I did risk total blindness. I think I would do it again. The camaraderie of the “wildcats” was superb and exalting.
Do you have a a question, comment, or story to share with Dr. Leveque?
More information on the history of Dr. Leveque can be found in his book, General Patton's Dogface Soldier of WWII about his own experiences "from a foxhole".
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