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November 17, 1956


JAMA. 1956;162(12):1160. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02970290056014

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Sport is an old word in the English language, dating back to at least 1440. Originally meaning any pastime or diversion, it soon came to refer particularly to games carried on in the open air and to a series of athletic contests; a little later, to the endeavor to take or kill wild animals, game, or fish. Ancient philosophers and physicians were unanimous in condemning the profession of athletics as injurious to the mind and body. Nevertheless, throughout history, physicians have continued to interest themselves in the effects produced accidentally and deliberately on the body by individual and group exercises in all forms. The quadrennial recurrence of the modern series of Olympic Games, to be held this November in Melbourne, Australia, provides an appropriate opportunity to present a brief symposium indicating the scope and variety of this interest through the years and at the present time.

The opening essay reviews

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