Front Page » Table of Contents » Archive: Sports: December 2009


Unsafe At Any Weight

YOCEMENTO, Kan. - In 1965 Ralph Nader wrote his earthshaking Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-in Dangers of the American Automobile, addressing the automobile industry's resistance to the introduction to safety features such as seat belts in designing cars.

Is football the new GM?

In an earlier article, I attempted to explain the physiology of repetitive hits to the head in football and the consequent brain damage. I mentioned the case of an eighteen year old. He died of other causes, but his brain upon examination showed evidence of tau neurofibrillary tangles; the same kind of tangles found in Alzheimer victims. The young man played only two years of high school football.

This evidence should be the source of concern for parents and young players. Is playing football at any age a potential threat to the brain?

university-of-kansas.gifLAWRENCE, Kan. - As KU faces off against UCLA in basketball today, it brings back memories of seven foot legends Wilt Chamberlain for KU and Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul Jabaar) for UCLA. But they weren't the first.

In the fall semester of 1927, University of Kansas basketball coach Phog Allen quietly planned a basketball revolution. With little fanfare, Phog Allen enrolled the first known seven foot basketball player in classes at Lawrence.

In the 1920's, a player 6' 4" was considered extremely tall, and a player seven foot tall was unthinkable. Harry Kersenbrock enrolled at KU, and quickly earned the nickname "Big" from his KU classmates. At the time, freshmen were not eligible to play varsity, so Kersenbrock played for the freshman team.

This was 1927 - long before anyone had heard of giants Bob Kurland at Oklahoma A & M, George Mikan of the Minneapolis Lakers, or even Wilt Chamberlain.
Kersenbrock was raised in Crete, NE, and people didn't know what to make of the sometimes clumsy "freak of nature."

GREAT BEND, Kan. - If there was a way Tiger Woods could visit his father's grave in Manhattan, Kansas today, I'm sure he would. Earl Woods' always kept a close watch over Tiger, and his death on May 3, 2006 probably had an impact we are only realizing today. Maybe we should have seen it coming.

Earl Woods was an African-American pioneer in his own right. Born and raised in Manhattan, Kansas, Earl Woods was the first African-American baseball player in the Big 7. The Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro Leagues showed an interest in signing the catcher to play professional baseball, but Woods turned them down, graduating from college in 1953, and becoming a Green Beret in the Army.

Woods retired from the service as a Lt. Colonel, and he always emphasized discipline and self-control in raising Tiger. In a letter to Great Bend's Frances Burns (widow of Earl's Ban Johnson baseball coach in Great Bend in the summer of 1951) Woods mentions "discipline." He wrote that the discipline he learned from Coach Al Burns in baseball "has helped me in teaching Tiger and has directly contributed to his success."

We have more! This page only lists entries in a particular month. We encourage you to look back through our archives in this same category.

The previous archive is Sports: November 2009. The next archive is Sports: May 2010.

If you want to browse other topics, you can also check our Table of Contents. The most current posts can always be found on our Front Page.


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This is an archive page containing all of the stories posted to Kansas Free Press in one particular topic in a particular month. These stories were published in the Sports: December 2009 section.

The previous archive is Sports: November 2009. The next archive is Sports: May 2010.

The most current posts can always be found on our Front Page.

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