At 1:30 the Redskins sprint onto the field, looking from a distance as healthy, vigorous, poised and calm as any group of men you will ever see. So much for illusion.
It is drizzling on Forbes Field, and Kuczo, as he checks his ice bags, oxygen canisters and other sideline paraphernalia, watches the weather disapprovingly. "These sloppy days are bad for pulls. They don't get warmed up right, coming in off the bench."
"Of injuries to the cervical column and neck, whiplash is the most common," lectures Dr. Resta, apropos of nothing in particular, appearing a bit nervous himself before the kickoff. "Followed by knee injuries. Head injuries as a class are potentially the most dangerous. Also for some reason," Resta continues, "you usually get more injuries in the first half than the second. I'm not sure why, except maybe they don't hit as hard later on."
As the afternoon wears on, Resta comes on very strong as a prophet. The Redskins eventually win, vindicating his B-12 pick-the-winner system. There are seven Redskin injuries requiring medical attention, six in the first half. The first one is a banged back, the second a twisted knee. Some of the accidents unquestionably smart but none are so serious that Resta and Kuczo cannot make on-the-field repairs that enable the players to continue. Immediately after the game, in the training room, there is a preliminary medical roll call, which turns up several bruises, minor strains and dents. Though stinging, limping and groaning a bit in victory, none of the 40 bodies appear to be severely damaged. And so the Redskins return happily to Washington for another week in Joe Kuczo's fix-it shop, there to be heated, needled, rubbed and taped so that they will live to fight another Sunday.