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JAMA 100 Years Ago
May 13, 2009


JAMA. 2009;301(18):1941. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.587

The sanest thing that has been said about college athletics in recent years occurs in a lecture recently delivered by Dr. Edward H. Nichols, medical supervisor of the Harvard athletic teams. The following paragraphs which, as they are reported within quotation marks in the Boston Herald, of Monday, April 19, would seem to be authentic, represent conclusions of his medical experience and careful weighing of the situation. He said, in part: “I believe that competitive athletics develop courage, tenacity, a sense of fair play, coordination, self-sacrifice, the control of men, business principles and power, and these to a very high degree in many cases, and that the good far outweighs the detrimental publicity, extravagance, physical energy and excessive work, the evils of the coaching system and the distortion of values. Especially is this so since the evils seem to me controllable, the extravagance by removal of the money which makes it possible, the excessive work and energy by adequate medical supervision, the coaching evils by abolition of the system, and distortion of relative values by changes in the points of view of parents and by increased requirement of work by faculties.”