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February 27, 2004

Football Player Suffers Frostbite

FROM EAST CENTRAL INDIANA comes word of a football disciplinary workout at Ball State University conducted outside on one of the coldest days of the year. The workout was begun at 6 AM on January 31, the temperature was 7 below zero and the wind chill was 12 below zero.

AD Bubba Cunningham said several players participated in the session. Each player carried a 25-pound sandbag up and down steps of Ball State Stadium. The workout lasted about 40 minutes.

One of the players, Chris Jackson, suffered frostbite on three fingers of each hand. He needed medical attention that day.

A reprimand letter was issued to football coach Brady Hoke for conducting the workout in frigid conditions. The AD said disciplinary workout are acceptable, but not in severe weather conditions.

The Muncie Star Press obtained details from three unnamed sources who work in the Ball State athletic department. The sources said that Jackson had missed a mandatory study table session. He was disciplined by being assigned an extra conditioning workout.

Injuries during athletic workouts aren't unusual, but the severe weather conditions were such that special consideration should have been exercised. The same could be said of warm weather workouts was well.

"We need to ensure the health and safety of our student-athletes in conducting training exercises," AD Cunningham said. "I think we generally do that. We have to be very aware of weather conditions.

The model of the tough authoritarian football coach is etched in the American psyché. The gruff, grisly Vince Lombardi-type typifies the classic genre of the manly man with the say-so that makes 300-pounders tremble. The general theory was that winning could not be achieved without punishment.

Much in the manner of unquestioned military obedience, college football players are expected to simply do as they are told.

It is not to much to ask that football coaches keep an eye on the thermometer. As a general rule, anything under zero or over 100 should be enough to move things inside.

(this excerpt was sourced from an article in the Muncie Star-Press of 2-27-04)