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Brand Loyalty?

I see that one of the six regional covers for your Oct. 27 NBA Preview asks the question, "How far can Elton Brand take the Sixers?" Given the power forward's injury history—he played just eight games last year with the Clippers—I think the real question is, "How far can the Sixers take Elton Brand?"
Noam Dinovitz, Baltimore

Cities Without Pity

I sympathize with the plight of Philadelphia fans who endured 100 seasons without a championship (Historically, We Suck, Oct. 27), but what about Cleveland? The the Browns won the city's last championship in 1964. If you take the 44 years since that happened for both the Browns and the Indians, then add 38 years for the Cavs since they entered the NBA in 1970, the total is 126 championship-less seasons. If you want to feel bad for a city, Cleveland has to be at the top of the list.
John McClain, Osceola, Ind.

Cry me a river, Philly. Do you know what it's like to be a sports fan in San Diego? The Padres have zero World Series titles, and their last appearance was an embarrassing sweep by the Yankees in 1998. Super Bowl appearances? The Chargers had one, in 1995, and they were creamed by the Niners, 49--26. The memory of Steve Young's 44-yard touchdown pass to Jerry Rice three plays into the game is as heartbreaking as it gets.
Karen Billing, San Diego

Youth Concussions

I returned from three days in the ICU, where my son was treated for postconcussive syndrome, only to retrieve my mail and see your story on concussions in high school football (PLAYERS, Oct. 27). My son was blindsided, hit helmet-to-helmet in the first quarter, but never said a word and played the whole game with a concussion—his second in three weeks. Two days later his slurred speech and violent headache prompted me to rush him to the ER. He had been released after his first concussion, and I knew nothing about "second impact syndrome" until I read your article. I pray that all high school football parents, refs, trainers and coaches read this story carefully.
Rita M. Dapkey, Lansdowne, Pa.

As a pediatric emergency medicine physician, I see firsthand the minimizing of key symptoms that high school (and even younger) athletes report after a head injury. All head injuries should be taken seriously by the athlete, parent, coach and physician. Not doing this can have deadly consequences. I only wish this article would have also been in my son's SPORTS ILLUSTRATED KIDS.
Michael P. Poirier, Norfolk

Add 3/4 or 1 inch of cushion on the outside of the helmets. Attractive, classy-looking, impact-spreading and absorbing materials are available. The anvils worn as helmets by the players are the problem.
Dr. Samuel A. Nigro
Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Around the Corners
I loved your article on NFL cornerbacks (Go Strong or Get Toasted, Oct. 27). Usually the only time we hear about these guys is when they get a penalty or if they are getting burned by T.O. or Randy Moss. It was cool to hear their side. Where else in life can you consider not being embarrassed a great day at the office.
Rollin Herold, Toluca Lake, Calif.

It takes a special player to play on the island. You need to have the footwork of a running back, the speed of a receiver and the vision of a QB—and hit like a linebacker. There shouldn't even be a debate: Cornerback is the most challenging position in football.
Joe Jacobs, Calgary

Bum Wrap

I've always liked Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher (INSIDE THE WEEK IN SPORTS, Oct. 27). After a close inspection of his photograph in your magazine, I can see the message written on his wristband ("Be an a------) during the Vikings game—and I like him a whole lot more.
Frank Lynch, Salt Lake City

Tiger Balm

It's true that Clemson's football program has problems (INSIDE COLLEGE FOOTBALL, Oct. 27), but opportunity awaits the next head coach. For all of outgoing coach Tommy Bowden's shortcomings on Saturdays, he did a wonderful job creating new facilities and recruiting. If the right man is hired, the Tigers could be very scary very soon.
Zach Calhoun, Greenwood, S.C.

Missing Persons

Regarding your story on Kevin Hart, the high school senior who fooled people into believing he was being recruited by top programs (POINT AFTER, Oct. 27), I can't help wondering: Where were the grown-ups? Hart surely bears blame for his lie, but why didn't his coach ever ask himself why he had never been visited by a representative of Cal or Oregon? Why didn't Hart's parents call Cal or Oregon to ask why no one had ever contacted them? How did this situation get to where the young man was allowed to conduct a selection ceremony while it appears that not a single adult in Fernley, Nev., had ever talked to a representative of Cal or Oregon?
Elizabeth G. Nichols, Springfield, Mo.

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