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September 11, 1976 - Image 29

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1976-09-11

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Saturday, September 11', 1976


Page Nineteen .

Lewis: Mixing medicine, footba/l

(Continued from page 11)
thing dirty. When you play clean
and you're always alert and
you're in good condition, then
football is not really a danger-
ous game. There are 200-pound
bodies flying into each other
at full speed, and there are al-
_ays freak injuries - I felt
iy broken arm was a freak
injury - but I'm not trying
to hurt the guy across from me
and he isn't really trying to
hurt me. If I play right and
play clean I don't think I'm go-
ing to get hurt.
But also, football can be a
dangerous game. There are a
lot of head injuries, a lot of
neck injuries that can be per-
manently disabling. I think if
you take all the Big Ten foot-
ball players now and look at
them when they're about 45 or
them when they're about 45
or 50 you'll find a lot of
arthritis and other residuals
from the game that
people aren't aware of now. Be-
cause the artificial turf has
made the game faster, the play-
ers are bigger and stronger and
hitting harder, there's more
trauma to all your joints. I think
in 20 years we're going to find
a lot more permanent residuals
than we've had in the past.
WHY DO I ABUSE my body
like that? I don't know. Every
football player wonders, "What
the heck am I doing out here?"
As I go on in my medical stud-
ies, I can see what things are
going to hurt me and what
things aren't. Some things are
unavoidable. The way blocking
is taught today, is to block with
your head and arms, and you
can get a lot of neck injuries.
You can get a jammed neck-
I've lost an inch and a quarter
in height since I've been here
just from pounding my head
into people. I'm not kidding-
it happens to a lot of the line-
men and linebackers.
But I have to do it in order
to play football. I do winder,
"What the heck is going on?"
(laughing) But I'm young and
I'm healthy - I'm blind as far
as looking to the future. I say,
"Hey, I feel okay now." But
I know what I'm going to feel
like forty years from now.
DAILY: When you were a
kid, did you dream of being
a football player or a doctor?
And how do you view your
career options now?
LEWIS: Medicine is there, and
I have two more years to go.
That's my career. Being a foot-
ball player was more of a
dream, being a doctor seemed
more of a reality. It's always
been in my mind that I was
going to be a physician - it
was just inevitable. I knew that
school would always be there
and that I'll be a doctor some
day, as soon as I can.
Football has always been kind
of a dream, because football
is a game of breaks. You can
get hurt, or your team can have
a lousy year so no one really
looks at you. Your success is
often in somebody else's hands.
You can work real hard and
make yourself the best player
- that's what I've tried to do
- but there's always a chance
that some freak thing's going
to happen and it's going to be
SO I'VE ALWAYS dreamed of
it - and in America, hero wor-
ship is a big thing, and football
players are in the limelight. But
medicine's been a reality - I've
known that's what I've wanted
to be for a long time, and I've
just assumed I'm going to be
a physician. It's part of my life.
I'll be a physician in two years,
hopefully, but if pro football
comes up, or something else,
maybe it'll be longer.
All that depends on this year.

I feel I have a good opportuni-
ty to be drafted if I have a
good year. I'm going to work
really hard this year and hope
to have a great year. But- it's
not because of pro football that
I hope to have a good year-it's
because of Michigan football.
I'm really looking forward to
this year. We have just a super,
super team coming up.
DAILY: Why did you come
to Michigan - was it because
of Inteflex?
LEWIS: Well, the Inteflex pro-
gram was an integral part of
my decision. But Michigan, to
me, has always been the sym-
bol of academic and athletic ex-
cellence. There's no other place
in the country where you can
get both the way you can at
There are other places where
you can get as good academics
- Stanford, Harvard, I got re-
cruited by all those schools and
their academics were very im-
pressive. But Michigan's were
just as impressive. There were

other places that have great
athletics - Ohio State, Nebras-
ka, Oklahoma, Southern Cal and
all those. They're very impres-
sive in athletics, but Michigan
is just as impressive, if not
more. There's no other place
where you can get the two
combined. You can get a great
education and play mediocre
football, or you can play the
best football, but what do you
have to show for it? The edu-
cation is what really counts in
the end.
ever thought I could be, and
it's not just because we've won
thirty games since I've been
here, or because I'm going to
get a medical degree from
Michigan. It's the great tradi-
tions at Michigan - Michigan's
a great tradition school, wheth-
er people on campus want to
believe it or not.
Another thing is it's one of
the top two or three great lib-
eral institutions in the country.
The education you get outside
the classroom is really bene-
ficial. You can meet every type

of person here. A lot of times
athletes can get really wrapped
up in themselves and get a big
ego - "Here I am, athletic
hero, walking across campus."
You go other places, the big
jock on campus has everybody
following him, all the beautiful
girls hanging onto his arms.
But here, you don't have that,
and it kinds brings you back
to earth. You can be walking
down the street with someone
and they ask what you do and
you tell them you're a football

player and they go, "Oh ...
well, I don't get to many of the
DAILY: What does that do to
LEWIS: It says, "Hey, a lot
of people don't really care that
you're a football player. But
there are a lot that do. It's
kinda neat, I think. It's interest-
ing to meet different people like
that. You find that there are
other things in the world be-
sides football.

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