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Track limps closer to N.E. title

By David Rothstein

The reports of MIT's track standout Garret Moose '91's demise, to adapt a phrase, have been greatly exaggerated.

Or, perhaps, it is better to say simply that Moose, who suffered a serious head injury three weeks ago during pole vaulting practice and spent a considerable amount of time in the Massachusetts General Hospital, not only will compete on the track again. He may even vault and jump in this weekend's New England Division III Championships, held at Bowdoin College.

And that is nothing short of great news for the Engineers, who have lost more than their share of key performers to injury in recent weeks, and will be hard-pressed to defend their championship title against hungry teams like Tufts University and Brandeis College.

The track team lost two consecutive meets for the first time in ages, falling to Tufts in January and Bowdoin (Bowdoin?) earlier this month. Gone from the picture were Moose (suffering from a concussion) and leading scorer Kevin Scannell '91 and Steve Cooke '91 (both with strained hamstrings).

The hope is that all three will be able to compete this weekend.

Also among the injured are John Tewksbury '92 (triple and long jumps, hurdles) and hurdlers Dean Moon '92 and Ed Cho '93, each of whom has suffered pulled muscles.

"If some of our injured people can come through," said head coach Halston Taylor, "we should win."

Winning New England Division III titles has been the standard measure of a season's success in recent years.

So the pressure is on for the team to produce.

The Engineers will have to count on the production of healthy (knock on wood) team co-captains Mark Dunzo '91 (55 and 200 meters, 1600-meter relay) and John-Paul Clarke '91 (weight throw, shot put), two of the almost two dozen athletes who are making the trip to Maine.

"It feels like we're going up there held together with spit and tape," admitted Taylor, who has probably found his first year as a head coach somewhat more trying than he would have liked.

One member of the track team got a laugh when he read last Friday's issue of The Tech, which had reported that Moose's injury was so severe that he would not likely return to competition, and raised the possibility that Moose would not be able to complete the academic term.

Then the trackman looked at the person sitting next to him in the lecture: Sure enough, it was Moose himself.

At the time the article was written, the latest information available to The Tech indicated that the effects of Moose's injury were quite severe.

"I'm slightly amazed," admitted Taylor, commenting on Moose's rapid recovery. He is not alone.

Moose spent two weeks at Massachusetts General before being transferred to the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital for five days. He left Spaulding a week ago, and after being cleared by doctors at Massachusetts General, Spaulding and the MIT Medical Department, as well as the sports medicine staff, has resumed light training on the track.

"I have basically no recollection at all of accident or first three days at the hospital," Moose said in an interview Wednesday evening.

The fall during practice fractured the back of Moose's skull, causing a large primary contusion on the back of his brain, and more than 30 secondary contusions on the frontal and temporal lobes, according to Moose. The contusions -- caused, in effect, by the brain's "sloshing around" inside the skull -- created a lot of pressure, causing Moose great discomfort from loud noises.

"I'm definitely very lucky," said Moose, who feels no lasting effects of the fall, except for occasional pressure on his eyeballs and inner ears. This, too, is expected to disappear with time.

Moose will compete in four events -- the long, high and triple jumps, and the pole vault -- in the championships. As a precaution, he will wear a bicycle-type helmet when he vaults.