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Sports and concussions

EDITOR: I was delighted to open the paper on Friday and read about the new concussion policy for Santa Rosa schools ("Battle plan for head injuries"). As a student athlete, there is nothing more daunting than witnessing a teammate or peer suffer from a concussion and thinking, "I could be next."

But as I delved deeper into the article, I couldn't help but feel significantly let down. The policy states that a trainer is provided for all contact sports, not all sports. In fact, none of the sports I participate in are on that list. As a competitive volleyball player, I've witnessed countless players as the recipients of high-speed volleyballs to the face. I've heard the blood-curdling smack of a skull meeting the hardwood as someone dives for a ball. Track and field is another example of potential concussion-inducing environment. I took a hard spill on a hurdle the other day, and I could have easily been concussed.

I believe all high-school athletes should be reassured that they are going to be taken care of. I'm all for the protection of our precious brains, but is mine any less important than the quarterback's? Only equal protection will grant me peace of mind (literally).

CLAIRE BARTLETT

Santa Rosa

Fair without the harvest

EDITOR: To me, a harvest fair is a celebration of the gathering of the crops, not just wine and ale. It's supposed to be about the ways of farm living. Cow milking, sheep shearing, hay bucking, growing vegetables, pumpkin carving, building a scarecrow, canning, baking, hay rides, different kinds of livestock and poultry are a few the things to celebrate and share. It's people getting together with kids and city-dwellers learning the country ways while eating a funnel cake or biting into a caramel apple. I guess the name Harvest Fair will have to be changed to something else. What would a garden show be without flowers?

LOIS GIVENS

Petaluma

Sharing the road

EDITOR: "What's wrong with this picture?" should have been the caption for Monday's front-page photo ("Road rules weighed"). You mentioned a "pack" of cyclists traveling. I counted seven helmets. It is obvious they aren't traveling in single file. Because of this disregard for a basic rule of the road we were taught in grade school, the motorist pictured at the right is forced to travel over the double yellow line.

When faced with all the possible distractions and split-second decisions drivers must make, was he thinking, "Which will have a better chance at life — the cyclists on my right, the oncoming car to my left or me?" It is apparent he didn't have enough room to pass safely.

Slow down to their speed, you say? That would cause even more possibilities for accidents as traffic behind jams up, too quickly for many to brake in time.

I am all for riding bikes, but rules of the road must be followed by everyone. Cyclists should also try to choose roads that are more bike-friendly and use their time off to petition for wider, safer roads. Unfortunately, these roads were originally constructed for motor vehicles. Bicycles have been an afterthought.

HEIDI ARAGON

Clearlake

Smoky Santa Rosa

EDITOR: "Where have all the smokers gone?" in Sunday's paper should have been titled, "Smokers find friend in downtown Santa Rosa."

Obviously the author hasn't strolled the streets of downtown lately. Whether you're passing by the Russian River Brewery, the library, Courthouse Square, Peet's or Starbucks, one often gets choked by disgusting and unhealthy cigarette smoke.

Despite rigid local smoking laws, the apathetic enforcement environment continues to provide a smoking haven in our downtown area. So, continue to put more stringent smoking laws on the books, but smokers need not worry; they will have downtown Santa Rosa to blow smoke.

DONALD STEFFY

Santa Rosa