70 years of managing UM football equipment

Submitted by Don on November 10th, 2012 at 7:06 AM

Herb Frederick has attended to Michigan's football equipment for 70 years, and his duties have exposed him to that unique and long-lived combination of Ohio State football fans and urine:

“You don’t want to go to Columbus,” Herb said. “They had students living in Ohio Stadium, and they would pour water, sometimes urine, down on us when we backed the truck to unload it.”




November 10th, 2012 at 7:57 AM ^

Fascinating stuff, and thanks for posting it. 

It's particularly interesting because how equipment was maintained and repaired in a time before Schutt made helmets and Adidas made uniforms and shoes. Undoubtedly, keeping the players' uniforms and equipment in top condition is and always has been an extremely important job, and it is always great to read about someone who has made a long-standing and unique contribution to the team traditions. His comment on leather helmets in particular was something that I never would have thought - that they were "solid, thick. heavy", for they certainly don't look that way. 



November 10th, 2012 at 8:18 AM ^

were supposedly better than we'd guess at preventing concussions, presumably due to the nature of the material, which yields and deforms upon impact in a way that the modern stiff helmet shells cannot. Assuming that's true, I wonder if future helmets will return to have a softer outer layer that performs a similar function of dispersing the force of an impact, sort of how an airbag does.


November 10th, 2012 at 9:52 AM ^

Numbers in Australia indicate that a leather jacket still provides more protection to motorcycle riders than even kevlar does; I can see how a leather helmet might be better for a football player than a modern one.  One great thing about going to leather helmets would be that players would not be so quick to use them as weapons, and thus wouldn't force so many impacts with their heads.  

Modern helmets only serve to circumvent the body's own defense, pain, at the expense of the brain impacting against the inside of the skull.  I would love to see them go back to all soft equipment, including shoulder pads.  As long as equipment can be used as a weapon, injuries aren't going to significantly decrease.