Letters June 2009

Battle Goes On
Your article regarding eye protection (A Losing Battle, Apr/May ’09) raises an important issue. I am an ophthalmologist in Detroit caring primarily for children. I have treated children and adults with eyes injured by squash balls, baseballs, paint balls and so on. Loss of sight in one eye changes your life. Loss of sight and loss of depth perception not only affects squash but your ability to live a normal life. Eye protection is MANDATORYto avoid injury.

I commend you for your ethical stand in the heat of battle. Is this “A Losing Battle”? Never!!!!! The only person who loses the battle is the one with the injured eye. Please keep trying.

John Roarty, MD
Chief of Pediatric Ophthalmology
Children’s Hospital of Michigan   

As an ophthalmologist, I have considered Will Carlin’s eye protection dilemma in the non-sanctioned tourney.

Part of me wants to say “Go ahead, make my day” to the hundreds of overconfident squash fanatics who think they are immune from serious eye injuries because they are “pros.” But the truth is really that I’m sick and tired of eye trauma; the results are bad, and patients are never happy.

So my thought is that Will was right to consider defaulting. But, since both players came to an agreement, I think Will should have offered the match to his opponent once Will got to match point—with the stipulation that the opponent would always defend eye protection. If the opponent refused, Will could have defaulted anyway.

John S Minkowski, M.D.
Baltimore, MD

The battle for universal eye protection will only be won when the top players around the world conform to the conventions of the Metropolitan Squash Racquets Assoc., the Massachusetts Squash Racquets Assoc. and other squash organizations which require eye gear. In 1973 at St. Mary’s Hospital in London, a houseman had just lost an eye when I arrived for a medical student rotation. Even a guy as rugged as JPR  Williams, a true  St Mary’s man,  famous British Lions fullback and now Sports Medicine guru, would approve of eye gear today I am sure.

Tristram C Dammin, MD
Emergency Physician
Boston, Ma

Great piece by Will Carlin on eye goggles. This is not a losing battle. I hope he keeps up the good fight, and keeps on repeating what happened to him. Maybe there will be a generation of players who will feel vulnerable to serious injury if they play without goggles, unlike the pros of yesterday and today. I’ll do my part, and I never let one of my four kids even walk on a court without goggles. I played for 30 years before seeing the light; I now wear engineer-type goggles over my regular glasses. I don’t win any style points, but I feel good knowing that nothing will come close to seriously injuring me.

Simon Gill
via Email

I would like to commend Will Carlin for his passionate pursuit of universal eye protection detailed in his “Will’s World” column in the April/May issue. As an avid squash player, physician and brother to a sibling who has sufferred a severe eye injury, I fail to see the rationale for NOT wearing eye guards. To those who insist on playing without protection, stop being so selfish! An injury you may incur on the court has serious consequences for your family as well as for your opponent.

John Fisch, MD
Export, PA

Hips Hooray
Richard Millman introduced me to resurfacing in the spring of 2006, and I am glad he did! Resurfaced in Sept ’06 by Dr. Edwin Su at Hospital for Special Surgery in NYC, I am playing squash 100% now—2 1/2 years later. I got my life back. Don’t hesitate to mention resurfacing, as appropriate, in the magazine. Many docs STILL won’t tell patients about this option.

Jeffrey P. Wiegand
via Email

I am an avid squash player and current subscriber to your magazine. A couple of issues ago, you ran an article on Birmingham Hip Resurfacing. At the time, I didn’t have a whole lot of interest and when I was finished with the issue, I casually tossed it out. That was a mistake. A couple of weeks ago, I went to my Ortho to get checked out for on and off nagging hip pain that I’ve had over the past 10 years. After years of martial arts, racquetball, and cycling (I’ve only been playing squash a couple of years) I figured it was just a strain that never healed properly. X-rays revealed arthritis and the doctor said it was only a matter of time before I would need a hip procedure. I mentioned that I heard of BHR, and we agreed that I would be a good candidate (I’ll be 46 in November).

Thank you for running articles such as this. Contrary to the recent letter published in your latest issue, I believe your magazine IS an appropriate place to communicate the BHR procedure. Had you not published it, I would be completely despondent at the prospect of a THR and possibly having to give up the game.

Jim Scheuer
via email

Coming Clean
Good for you, Jay! Admitting your rating is the first step to a brighter future. I appreciated your article, and you are not alone. I too am a 4.5 player, but I’m not sure I deserve to be. Your article touches some of the reasons why. Case in point: My official rating is 4.169, and I am a “west coaster.” I choose to ‘play up’ in tournaments here in the west…4.5 or 5.0 draws. I was feeling sluggish, thanks to a newborn son, so I played the 4.5 in the Rose City Classic and managed to win the division. Feeling pleased with myself, I moved up to the 5.0 for a tourney in Berkeley. Wouldn’t you know it…a 2nd straight title! Look out rankings…here I come. Except that none of my opponents was a 4.5 OR 5.0 player…or even rated above me. This is where the undervaluation you spoke of comes from. By current rating standards I am a 4.0, and that is likely where I belong right now, as most New York 5.0’s would mop the floor with me!

Josh Hilton
via Email