SI Vault
Edited by Robert H. Boyle
November 07, 1977
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November 07, 1977


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Dr. R. Dean Coddington, a child psychiatrist in New Orleans, and a team of researchers say that serious injuries to high school football players have a definite relationship to the degree of discord in the player's family.

In a paper presented last week at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry in Houston, Dr. Coddington reported that he had elicited confidential family information from more than 700 New Orleans high school players last year while their coaches kept detailed injury records. One hundred and fourteen of the players were injured, 14 of them seriously, and Coddington says, "Basically, what we found was that the rate of divorce, marital discord, missing parents or recent deaths of a parent was far higher in the players who had suffered serious injuries.

"Depending on the degree of discord which the players had told us by filling out information questionnaires, we could go back and see where we could have predicted the majority of the injuries, especially the serious one."

Coddington concludes, "I can foresee the value of looking into the players' family problems at the start of football season, and for those families in real turmoil recommending counseling...and perhaps in some instances suggesting that a few boys not play."


Snatching the cap off the head of Woody Hayes has gotten to be a national sport. Four years ago TV cameras caught the Ohio State coach taking a roundhouse swing at a fan, who after first calling Hayes an unprintable name, grabbed at his cap following Michigan State's controversial 16-13 win in East Lansing. After this season's loss to Oklahoma in Columbus, Hayes was again shown taking a poke at a Sooner student trainer who tried to snatch the cap.

The trend continued in Iowa City, where an Iowa fan of immense proportions filched Woody's cap at midfield and fled into the stands with it. Early last week Hayes received a letter from Mike Gatens, a 6'5" former Iowa basketball player, who enclosed $5 for the cap and explained, "I've always been a Woody Hayes fan, but in my exuberance over homecoming and that last-minute Iowa touchdown, I just lost control."

Hayes was touched. He was also touched in the dressing room at Northwestern, which Ohio State beat 35-15, when a Northwestern student manager asked him for his cap. "I refused," Hayes says, "but I put the cap in full view on a shelf in the dressing room while I went to shower and dress. It was there when I returned. That young man could have taken the cap and didn't. I told him I was testing him and he was a great young man, so I gave the cap to him."


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