I've wanted to know more about this expedition ever since I first read about it being planned two years ago. What a refreshing change from the heroes (even gods) usually encountered in accounts of mountain conquests! Rowell depicts the climbers as real, fallible human beings, giving them an extra dimension that makes his journal more than simply a report of an assault on a mountain.
Your discussion of the increasing liability problems of football-helmet manufacturers (SCORECARD, April 4) ended with the question: "With no helmets, can there be football?"
The answer is yes, and although the game would obviously be different, it would also be safer. Many football injuries (high school football has a higher injury rate than this country's most dangerous occupation, coal mining) have occurred because of the gradual change in the function of the helmet from protective device to offensive weapon.
Football is considered so dangerous today that the presence of a physician at games is required at most levels of competition (How many activities in life are that dangerous?). However, the liability-insurance problems of the football-helmet manufacturers also plague the medical profession. The ancient philosophy that unfortunate events can happen spontaneously has been rejected in favor of the idea that every bad turn of events is someone's fault—and therefore compensable. A jury recently awarded former Oakland Raider Linebacker Bill Enyart $777,000 in a medical-malpractice judgment against the team orthopedist, following surgery to a knee damaged in a football game. Such awards can only result in greatly increased malpractice-insurance premiums for all physicians involved in the care of athletes. When this happens, some physicians understandably may choose not to become involved with talented and expensive athletes. If enough doctors selected this alternative, you might have to ask the question: "Can the very dangerous sport of football survive, not only without helmets but also without physicians?"
ROBERT V. JOHNSON, M.D.
Fort Collins, Colo.
BLUE JAYS DEFENDED
Michael F. Donovan and John W. Jerard write (19TH HOLE, May 9) that having a baseball team in Toronto is no big deal. Their letter comes from Portland, Ore. Have they ever been to Buffalo? They should know that an attempt to field a baseball team in Buffalo a few years ago failed for lack of interest. Also, Buffalo is one of the most polluted cities in the nation. And how can they say that Toronto is a "bland" city? It is one of the most exciting cities in the East. They should get their facts straight: there are more than 2� million people in Toronto's metro area, and the Blue Jays sold more season tickets than the Kansas City Royals.
Kindly inform Morton Sharnik and Bob Kendler (Served Up, Imperially, Under Class, May 2) that "something called paddle ball" (sic) is played according to standardized rules and requires considerably more skill than racquetball. Only at the highest levels of competition is racquetball anything more than the provision of a strung racquet to those unable to master handball or paddleball. Paddleball is the game!
Suttons Bay, Mich.