District schools officials said yesterday the school system is concerned about any injuries suffered on the athletic field and is trying to outfit its athletes in the finest equipment.

They responded yesterday to comments made by several Interhigh League coaches, voicing concern Tuesday over what they felt was a lack of staffing, poor equipment (particularly in football) and lack of proper instruction for coaches. Wilson football coach Horace Fleming said the equipment situation was in the "danger zone."

"I certainly don't agree with that," Interhigh League Athletic Director Otto Jordan said. "I think we do a very good job of purchasing the very best equipment and have been doing so for years. All of our equipment is regulation equipment as required by the National Federation {of State High School Associations}. We send our helmets and pads out every year to be retested and refurbished. And those that do not fit qualifications or are outdated are condemned on the spot and not returned.

"And our safety doesn't stop with football. We have programs for our elementary school kids, also. I know we do as thorough a physical examination as anywhere in the country, and we try to improve in each area we have concerns."

The coaches had been asked to comment following the District government's $1.45 million settlement with Dunbar junior varsity quarterback Mario Andretti Roberts, whose neck was broken and spinal cord was severed while making a tackle in October 1985. In the lawsuit, Roberts claimed that Dunbar coaches failed to teach him correct tackling procedures.

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

D.C. School Deputy Superintendent Andrew Jenkins said he does not believe the Interhigh League will be adversely affected by the court decision. He also said that long before the Roberts decision, the league was working to improve coaches' concerns.

"We will do whatever it takes to ensure each student who participates in athletes receives the best attention, training and equipment," Jenkins said yesterday following the D.C. schools' first awards luncheon honoring Interhigh League championship teams and scholar athletes at Howard University's Blackburn Center. "We feel our program has been moving along in satisfactory fashion and we are always working for improvement. As far as football equipment goes, we will certainly purchase the best we can get.

"Our coaches do attend clinics in coaching techniques and in first aid. We want our coaches to have the benefit of everything we can get to enhance their duties."

Floretta D. McKenzie, the superintendent of D.C. schools, was in attendance at the luncheon for the 200-plus honorees and said the Board of Education "pays me to spend money, not save it," and said her office would "definitely address the issues of concern."

"I have heard the concerns of the coaches and I hear what they are saying about the lack of equipment," she said. "We will work to improve in that area. I'm proud of the efforts we've made, and I would like to see perhaps the golf program come back, continue to improve the tennis program and maybe even bring back field hockey."

Jordan also said yesterday he hopes to reinstate a junior varsity football program in the fall.

"The league is continuing to make changes for the better," Jordan said. "Right now, the rules and regulations committee is considering allowing ninth-graders {the high schools have ninth grade} to play varsity sports. I think that has a good shot at passing."