I noted with considerable interest the comments by Ohio State Coach Woody Hayes in SCORECARD (Sept. 11) regarding protective headgear. I am particularly concerned about his statements that "in order to do a good job of blocking and tackling, you have to aim with the head.... If that headgear isn't protective, however, it's a dangerous weapon. But we can't get many other schools to go for protective headgear."
I would certainly agree that, under the circumstances that Mr. Hayes describes, the headgear is indeed a dangerous weapon. As a matter of fact, the technique of aiming with the head, or spearing, is particularly hazardous. Dr. Richard Schneider, a professor of neurosurgery at the University of Michigan Medical School, has been working for several years to study carefully the mechanisms of injuries occurring in football players. The technique of spearing is a prime offender and has been responsible for many head and spinal injuries.
There may be a very good reason why the other Big Ten teams have not been completely enthusiastic about Mr. Hayes' teachings. It should be made clear that outside padding alone is not going to eliminate the possibility of this kind of injury.
GEORGE D. ZUIDEMA, M.D.
Director, Department of Surgery,
Johns Hopkins University