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New study finds 18 football players died in 1999 season, eight paralyzed

said. Coaches should let players drink as much water as they want and announce regular cooling-off breaks.

Mueller attributed the drop in deaths directly caused by football to rule changes adopted in 1976 that prohibited using the head as the first point of contact during blocking and tackling. In 1968, 36 young men died after injuries in practices or games.

In 1970, eight players died from heatstroke. Before 1955, no deaths from becoming overheated were recorded among football players. Mueller said the reason may be that few schools and homes had air conditioning before then, and boys and young men likely were better able to stand high temperatures.

Parents should make sure that youngsters who want to play football have a physical examination and that their coaches teach safe playing techniques, the UNC-CH professor said. They also should ask if insurance and medical assistance are available in case of injuries.

The annual survey of football deaths and injuries began at Yale University in 1931, moved to Purdue University in 1942 and has been at UNC-Chapel Hill since 1965.

The American Football Coaches Association, the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the National Federation of State High School Associations sponsor it.

Over the past 70 years, 616 high school and 80 college players have died as a direct result of injuries suffered on the playing field.


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Contact: David Williamson
david_williamson@unc.edu
919-962-8596
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
13-Aug-2000


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