SI Vault
Edited by Robert W. Creamer
November 24, 1975
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November 24, 1975


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Well, for one thing, President Ford promised this commission that he would act swiftly and decisively upon its recommendations. The commission's first report, due next February, will concern itself with an organizational overhaul, which might mean a junking of the present USOC and a fresh start. The second report, due next September, after the Olympics, will most likely be a recommendation for direct supervision of the separate Olympic sports by a subcommittee of a higher sports authority clearly independent of AAU and NCAA alike. Both these groups will probably react negatively to the proposals, but the International Olympic Committee, which tends to look to the U.S. as the athletic leader of the Western world and is a bit sick of the internal squabbling that has vitiated American strength, is all for the idea. The IOC even sent its No. 2 man, Willi Daume of West Germany, to give the commission the benefit of his experience in organizing Olympic sports in West Germany.

Specific details won't be known until 1976, but everyone concerned with sport must hope that one strong, accepted governing force will take over, settling once and for all the jurisdictional nonsense that has gone on for so long.


Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid have reformed. After polluting a staggering amount of Western Hemisphere acreage with bullets, shell casings, damaged bicycles, busted furniture, shattered windows and broken hearts, Paul Newman has become a member of the Environmental Defense Fund and Robert Redford is on the board of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

All right, men, suppose you start by picking up all those dead bodies you've left lying around.


One Tuesday last month, when the World Football League still breathed and the Sun of Southern California was a football team, a wide receiver named Dave Williams underwent knee surgery. After such an operation a player would ordinarily be out for several weeks, if not for the season, but Williams was running in practice the next day and the following Sunday played for the Sun in a game in Honolulu.

This apparent miracle must be credited in large part to a device called an arthroscope, which is used primarily for diagnosis. It is a slender tubular instrument, incorporating a light, that is inserted into the knee for interior examination. Dr. Richard O'Connor of West Covina, Calif., adapted the arthroscope so that it could accommodate minute "snippers" and "tweezers," so to speak. The snippers clip away torn cartilage and the tweezers clean up the area, functioning through an incision so small that the patient is able to get up and walk almost at once.

Dr. Robert Kerlan, the famous sports orthopedist, says the new method of removing cartilage is important pioneering work, but cautions that it is not yet applicable to most knee injuries. Williams' trouble was a small tear of the meniscus, a crescent-shaped cartilage in the knee, and Kerlan says relatively few knee injuries involve precisely that type of tear.

Nonetheless, the "operating arthroscope," as Dr. O'Connor calls it, represents a significant advance. After his hour-long surgery, Williams said, "I got up and walked right away. Dr. O'Connor told me to stay off the knee for a couple of days, but I went out the next day and ran on it." And played in a game that weekend. And was out of a job three days later, when the league folded.

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