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November 17, 1956


JAMA. 1956;162(12):1126-1132. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02970290022007

• During the 1955 football season, nine deaths were recorded throughout the course of play. This alone shows the need for an active program concerning the prevention of athletic injuries. As a prerequisite to such a program, accurate statistics must be obtained to show types of injuries and rate per exposure for all sports.

A preventive program must include a thorough preseason physical examination, with special emphasis on the history of prior injuries that the examinee might try to hide. There should then follow a period of physical conditioning under close medical observation, no matter what the sport or competition. The physician's responsibility, after all means of prevention have been utilized, lies notably in the immediate diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of injuries sustained and in averting further aggravation of minor trauma. This is not the duty of the coach or trainer.

Closer medical supervision of athletics, perhaps with a program similar to that practiced by industry and the insurance companies for the protection of the worker, may be the means of reduction of athletic injuries.