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Grab Bag

Kirk Crecco was a onetime New Hampshire high school basketball standout who never made much of an impact for Dartmouth College before graduating in 2012. However, the guard has made the most of his chances ever since, playing professionally in Luxembourg and leading his league in scoring before signing to play this winter for a British club.

The Gilford, N.H. native has also penned a book about his experiences, offering advice to others searching for a foothold in European hoops. It’s a bit surprising that more Big Green athletes don’t spend a few years leveraging their athletic skills into a chance to see the world. Kudos to Crecco for making it work.

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Between 2007-11, it became common to see a box with an antenna on it sitting in the stands at Dartmouth hockey and football practices and games. It was part of a study aimed at measuring head trauma in athletes and it’s now produced a worrisome study summarized in a recent edition of the Los Angeles Times:

“Following a season of grueling practices and hard-fought games, (Dartmouth) football and ice hockey players who had no outward sign of head trauma showed worrisome changes in brain structure and cognitive performance that weren’t shared by athletes who competed in varsity sports such as track, crew and cross-country skiing, according to a report published... in the journal Neurology.”

The article goes on to describe how numerous, smaller hits to the head can alter the brain’s structure and function and make an athlete more succeptible to suffering a more damaging blow.

It will be interesting to see how Dartmouth uses the feedback. At the most basic level, it’s becoming pretty clear that playing collision sports isn’t good for your brain. But at what point does that fact outweigh the benefits of such activity? This appears to be a debate ready for years and decades of future discussion.

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Dartmouth has the worst combined record among NCAA Division I schools that field men’s and women’s hockey programs. The men’s team is 2-10 for a .167 winning percentage, while the women’s squad is 2-11 (.154). Others in the same neighborhood are Sacred Heart (men 4-12, women 1-7-3) and Penn State (3-9-1, 3-14-2).

The men don’t get a break in their next game, against No. 5 Providence (11-2-3) in the opening round of the Big Green’s holiday tournament on Dec. 29. The other two teams in the event are No. 16 Northeastern (9-5-2) and Air Force (7-5-4), which was 21-11-7 last winter, has won its league five of the past six seasons and regurlarly performed well in NCAA tournament competition.