Certain aspects of physical exercise need to be defended from the discredit into which they are likely to be thrown by the abuses of modern athletics.1 So long as it is maintained that the latter necessarily involve the idea of a contest — and this point of view has its advocates — we are constrained to emphasize the fact that the dangers of athletic sports are primarily and almost entirely confined to their competitive aspects. It is not the exercise per se, but rather the undue exertion involved in the attempt to win or surpass that brings on the symptoms of overdoing, the defective functioning of heart and kidneys. We take no narrow or perverted view of the best intent of physical training. The fundamental definition of an athlete is one trained or fit to contend in exercises requiring great agility or strength. This does not call for a
ATHLETIC SPORTS VERSUS COMPETITIVE ATHLETICS. JAMA. 1914;LXII(14):1094. doi:10.1001/jama.1914.02560390034018
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