Medical Aspects of Athletics in Preparatory Schools

JOHN BAPST BLAKE
1907 Boston Medical and Surgical Journal  
food because it " affected the wind "; although they were unable to give any reason for their statement. They nearly all agreed in excluding fats as far as possible. In this connection it may be worth while to mention an incident seen at one of the Harvard training tables, and observed in a less degree often. I have seen a man come up from the football field, and before soup was served eat a half a pound of butter on less than a whole slice of bread, and this remarkable desire for fats, which
more » ... e for fats, which are very largely excluded from regular training diet, is common and notable. In connection with the food, the question was asked as to the value of alcohol in any form to men in training. The trainers were almost, without exception, themselves abstainers, and very few of them smoked. Their ideas as to the value of alcohol were very variable. They practically all agreed that spirits in any form were undesirable, and they were also almost unanimous that some of the malt liquors were desirable and valuable, especially towards the latter end of training. Bass's ale was considered the best of all the alcoholic stimulants. The reason for that none of them was able to give, although my own impression has been, that it is due to the fact that men in training, daily fatigued by the great amount of exercise they take, are much more easily affected by alcohol than under ordinary conditions, and that Bass's ale quickly going to their heads gives them a feeling of comfort, and in that way, perhaps, may induce sleep and lessen the feeling of fatigue. Why the same thing should not be just as well brought about by either wine or spirits is not clear. To sum up, then, there was no practical agreement upon the amount of work, the length of time during which men could be kept in top condition, or the character of the food to be given to men in training. There was practically complete agreement that weight was the one accurate index of condition. None of the men had had any medical education, and their judgment was based entirely upon experience and " rule of thumb." The whole thing, then, e;oines down to a very indefinite general impression, plus the indication shown accurately by weighing scales, and all this seems to show that the science of training is a very indefinite and crude one, and that the most valuable trainer is, in all probability, the man who knows human nature, especially the nature of young men, best. --
doi:10.1056/nejm190701241560404 fatcat:cmp4m5im3jdddmbs7qgnvr66b4