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February 27, 1967

Calculated Sports Risks

JAMA. 1967;199(9):674. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120090116033

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To the Editor:—  In weight training of a 13-year-old boy, your staff member Kenneth S. Clarke, PhD (199:52, 1967) lists narcissism as a psychological factor. I have found among boys of this age and even among physically well-developed ones the continuous fear of being the weaker one, a type of inferiority which, of course, can not be overcome by any degree of physical training. Such boys often perfer weight lifting, the reason being that this, indeed, packs the arms with bulging muscles. The paradox, however, is that the boy never feels himself strong enough. The thing becomes a labor of Sisyphus.I would in every such case look into the psychological background and if necessary spend several hours to make the boy understand his motives. He may as a result return to a normal measure of graceful exercise.