Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/343

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337
SMOKING AND FOOTBALL MEN

been eliminated in the investigation about to be described, yet it is confidently believed that several of them have been largely avoided. It is difficult if not impossible to obtain a large group of men conforming in detail to the requirements above outlined, yet the closer such a group is approached the more reliable will be the results.

It occurred to the writer some three years ago that the football squad forms a very nearly homogeneous group. In the first place, the men are all athletes approaching physical perfection, a fact which tends to unify their mental attitude as well as their physical. Of recent years the eligibility rules have made it well-nigh impossible for transients and low scholarship men to "make the team," the regulations requiring the men to carry full courses not only during the year of participation, but also during the previous year. Socially the football men are much more alike than any group promiscuously gathered from the student body.

It is quite apparent that reliable conclusions can not be drawn from the records of a single football squad. Two years ago a few of the athletic directors in institutions in the inter-mountain states were asked to submit data relative to their football men, of course stating whether they were smokers or non-smokers. The results were very interesting and suggestive, but the number of men concerned was still rather small.

At the beginning of the present school year (1911-12) a much larger number of institutions were asked to assist in the investigation by submitting data. The following facts are based upon information received from coaches and athletic directors of fourteen American colleges and universities. The writer is fully aware of the fact that the varying conditions of the schools may introduce errors, yet they have carefully been guarded against and largely eliminated in the final summaries.

The blank forms sent out to the various athletic directors provided for the following data: age, weight, ordinary anthropometric measurements; ability on the team, whether fair, good or very good; scholastic standing of last year, including average scholarship mark, and number of conditions or failures; the number of smokers and non-smokers who attempted to "make place" on first team together with other more or less important features. The students were also to be designated as "smokers" or "non-smokers." The following foot-note appeared on each blank: "By 'smoker' is meant one who habitually smokes when not in training and not an individual who indulges at very infrequent intervals." It was thus desired that only habitual smokers be included in the list, as it is quite generally agreed that the infrequent use of tobacco is not seriously injurious.

It will not be possible to include a constant number of institutions or men in each of the various items following, as the blanks which were returned were only partially filled in; some of the institutions supplied