Several Interhigh League football coaches said yesterday they are concerned about the quality of the equipment they are being provided and that they will reevaluate their coaching techniques in the wake of a $1.45 million settlement to a Dunbar High School football player paralyzed in a 1985 football accident.

And, while some coaches said that injuries are an inevitable part of athletics, they indicated more precautions -- including better equipment, increased staffing and improved instruction -- must be taken if such injuries are to be avoided.

On Monday, the District government agreed to pay Dunbar junior varsity quarterback Mario Andretti Roberts what is thought to be one of the largest settlements ever paid by the city to an individual. Roberts sued the city for injuries suffered in an October 1985 junior varsity game against DeMatha. Roberts, whose neck was broken and spinal cord severed while making a tackle, claimed in the suit that Dunbar coaches failed to train him in correct tackling techniques.

Roberts' attorney, Milton Heller, also said yesterday that because of lack of equipment, Roberts was uanable to regularly participate in tackling drills and was unprepared to tackle a player who had just intercepted his pass.

"We are equipped to the bare minimum," said Wilson Coach Horace Fleming. "We're equipped properly, but not the best equipment. We should be more than just safe. But that takes a large amount of money and unless we can come up with that kind of money, we're in a danger zone."

Otto Jordan, director of athletics for the District schools, declined to comment yesterday on Roberts' case but said, "You never have enough equipment to do all you want to do."

He said his office tries to provide the schools with adequate equipment and training facilities and added, "We are in the process of revamping the procedures and rules for our coaches. Football is a high-risk activity and everybody does everything they can do to follow rules" to avoid such accidents.

One athletic director said yesterday each school receives about $5,000 a year from the Interhigh League for equipment in all sports. "It doesn't come close to what we need," he said. "I'd say at the minimum it would take $20,000 a year, and that's being cheap on some things . . . A lot of schools have to recondition their equipment; some kids are wearing stuff that's been around quite a few years."

Fleming also believes the problem of safety may go deeper than just a lack of equipment.

"The {coaches'} training programs are fine," he said. "As far as I'm concerned, the coaches will be fundamentally sound. But we have to give the kids an education. We need feeder programs to give the kids training before high school. I may take a kid that has never trained in football in his life and I have three weeks to get him ready. That's nearly impossible."

H.D. Woodson Coach Bob Headen indicated that to get qualified coaches, more must be provided than the $1,400 stipend for a head coach and $700 for an assistant. He also said that each school can have only one paid assistant, and that it is extremely difficult to get qualified volunteers.

Roberts' injury and settlement also will put more pressure on coaches to emphasize proper technique, according to Anacostia's Willie Stewart. "It means we're going to have to make sure all the kids are instructed properly and constantly reinforce that you are not to hit with your head," he said. "Hopefully, the kids playing from now on will take heed to what happened and will not try to do something like that."

Some coaches feel rule changes are necessary to help prevent serious injury. "In Virginia we're fortunate that we have adopted the use of hands in blocking techniques," said Annandale Coach Bob Hardage, who said that in his state offensive linemen can extend their arms while blocking. "It seems to have helped eliminate head injuries."

Roberts' attorney Heller said he hopes the settlement will help inititate safety improvements.

"I hope this case stands for something," Heller said. "I don't think every kid who gets hurt should get money, but it's downright criminal to field a team under these circumstances. You're going to get hurt, but you can minimize the risks 10-fold, according to statistics."

Said Fleming, the Wilson coach: "If we had $1.45 million we could put it towards the kids and equipment and not have to give it back in lawsuits. We might save some money in the long run."