Category Archives: sports

Toronto’s TeamSickKids Off For the 17th World Transplant Games

A group of athletes from Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children are headed to the Gold Coast of Australia to compete in the 17th World Transplant Games with TeamCanada.
Each one of the 25 members of the team have received a heart, lung, liver or kidney transplant. The athletes have been training for months to take part in the games held August 22 to August 30. Sick Kids reports:

“One of the main goals of our organ transplantation program is to provide a better quality of life and as normal a childhood as possible,” said Mary Jo Haddad, President and CEO of SickKids. “Our patients’ participation in the World Transplant Games is a testament not only to the quality of care they have received but also to their own and their families’ resolve. It is their determination, spirit and enthusiasm that we are celebrating today.”

The children that left for the Gold Coast have prepared for several months in an exercise training program with SickKids physiotherapists. This is the second time the team has appeared at the World Transplant Games. In 2007 the 17 heart transplant patients that attended brought Canada back 38 medals from Bangkok, Thailand. The team was the only delegation from Canada to send a team to the Games at that time. This year’s team all receive their treatments at SickKids. The team is comprised of members from eight to 18 years of age. Sick Kids quotes Dr. Anne Dipchand:

“At the 2007 Games, Team SickKids athletes had the opportunity to meet and interact with transplant recipients of all ages and organs,” said Dr. Anne Dipchand, Associate Director of the SickKids Transplant Centre, Head of the SickKids Heart Transplant Program and General Manager of Team SickKids. “One of the greatest highlights for both the parents and the kids was to see people who had received organ transplants as kids, who have grown up into adults leading healthy, successful and fulfilling lives.”

Returning champ Jessica Dorcich, 10, enjoys the chance to meet with other heart transplant patients just like her.

“Even though we have all had different experiences, it is nice to know that we have this chance to come together and compete and show the world what we can do,” she said.

The Daily Observer says that more than 1,500 people from 60 countries will be Down Under competing in the Games this year.

Skiing and Helmets Are a good Mix

Natasha Richardson may have died as a result of a blow to her head on a beginner ski slope. So did Boo Sung “James” Moon, 13, in Barrie, Ontario this past February. They were not wearing helmets. Helmets don’t always save lives but they protect.
When young Moon died there were renewed calls for legislation that would require children to wear helmets while skiing. Premier Dalton McGuinty dismissed the cries.

Studies have shown that head injuries are the leading cause of death on ski slopes. A study by the British Medical Association in 2003 found that in the United States the availability of helmet rentals varied by the ski area size. In the South and Midwest helmets were often not part of ski rentals.

Once neuronal damage once it has occurred there is very little that can be done to reverse the outcomes. The only way to reduce the numbers of ski accident TBI (traumatic brain injury) is to protect the head.

The one factor though on protection of the head during a skiing accident is the speed that the skier is going at the time of the head is hit. Helmets are likely to prevent only those head injuries sustained as a result of an indirect or low speed direct blow to the head.

There has been an increase though on US slopes for head protection. According to the National Ski Areas Association in the past five years more skiers are using helmets. While only 32 percent of those aged 18-24 will don a helmet more than 70 percent of children under 9 are hitting the slopes with head gear. The highest number of helmet wearers are in the West and Northeast.

Another study by the Department of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia suggests that n skiers and snowboarders under 13 years of age, helmet use does not increase the incidence of cervical spine injury and does reduce the incidence of head injury requiring investigation and/or treatment. That study was completed in 1998-1999.

The chances of a helmet protecting you in a ski accident are better odds than going without. Your brain just may thank you.

Two young soccer fans dead after being hit by a train in Paris

A Paris commuter train hit a group of soccer fans killing two young boys on Saturday night. The brothers were with a group walking down the tracks in an off-limits area.
Eleven others were injured during the accident which took place in a Paris suburb.

Reports say that brothers aged 11 and 17, were killed and their father, 40, was seriously injured. Two other minors are also in serious condition at hospital.

The fans of the Lille soccer team were taking a short cut along the tracks to get to a bus when the accident occurred. The area they were in was in an off-limits zone protected by barriers and gates.

News 24 reports:

Guillaume Pepy, head of SNCF, said the accident was “without precedent” and stressed that walking on the tracks is illegal.

“Never, never, never, for any reason, are you allowed to walk on tracks,” Pepy said, calling it “extraordinarily dangerous”.

Thousands of fans return home was disrupted as a result of the accident. More than 78,000 people were at the Stade de France Saturday night watching Lille beat defending champion Lyon 2-0.

Traffic was back to normal around 4:00 a.m. Sunday morning.

Dubai May Lose WTA Standing Later For Denying Israeli Player Visa

Israeli tennis star Shahar Peer has been denied a visa that would allow her to compete in the Sony Ericsson World Tennis Association Tour in Dubai by the United Arab Emirates.
Peer would have been the first Israeli to participate in any professional sporting event located in the UAE.

While the governing body of women’s tennis is disappointed that the visa was denied they are not canceling the competition. This is against WTA policy that states no player should be barred from a country if she qualifies for a competition. It is possible that Dubai could lose its membership in the WTA tour later this year because of the ban on Shahar. This would mean that professional players would only be allowed to compete in exhibition matches in the nation. Results from exhibition matches do not count in the pro rankings of a player.

When Peer was told that she would not be granted a visa on Saturday she was understandably upset.

CNN reports:

“Ms. Peer and her family are obviously extremely upset and disappointed by the decision of the UAE and its impact on her personally and professionally,” Scott said.

“The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour believes very strongly, and has a clear rule and policy, that no host country should deny a player the right to compete at a tournament for which she has qualified by ranking.”

The Dubai Tennis Championships started in 1993. This year’s competition runs from February 15 to February 28.

This is certainly not the first time politics has infringed on the sporting world. While it does not seem fair to ban a player because of their nationality it has happened in the past. The United States boycotted the Olympics when it was held in Moscow.

Israel does not have a WTA tournament so it’s unclear if a member of the UAE would be banned a visa if the situation was reversed.

Did Baseball Great Roberto Alomar Infect Girlfriend With HIV?

Did Roberto Alomar know he had HIV when he was having unprotected sex with long time girlfriend Ilya Dall. She claims that he has the disease and is suing him for $15 million.

The baseball player was with Dall for three years. According to Dall the former couple started dating in 2002. The athlete convinced Dall that he was disease free a month after they began to date and they started having unprotected sex.

In 2004 Alomar is said to have cold sores in his mouth. In 2005 after a physical exam that was ordered by the Tampa Bay Rays he was diagnosed with thrombocytopenia purpura, a blood disorder sometimes linked to HIV. The doctor asked him to have an HIV test which he is reported to have refused. He said he had already been tested and was AIDS-free. In April 2005 Dall was told by Alomar that he was suffering from erectile dysfunction.

The New York Daily News reports that Alomar told Dall:

“he was raped by two Mexican men after playing a ballgame in New Mexico or a Southwestern state when he was 17,”

Around the same time Alomar started having a persistent cough and was bedridden with fatigue. He came down with thrush, a yeast infection common with the HIV virus, and again refused to have a HIV test. Alomar repeatedly told Dall that he was disease free. A few months later the couple moved to Cleveland where he finally tested positive to the virus. Dall then was tested. Her test results were negative. From that time on she did not have unprotected sex with him again. The couple broke up in October.

She is suing for emotional distress and exposing her children to the virus. Dall believes that she deserves $15 million in punitive damages.

“He jeopardized the health, well-being and life of the plaintiff, which caused her to have a fear of contracting AIDS, often referred to as AIDS phobia,” the suit says.

Alomar is considered one of baseball’s best second basemen. In 1996 he was the center of controversy when he spit in the face of umpire John Hirschbeck.

Alomar is saying that this is a false story. His father is also shocked as his son has not told his family of any disease status. Lawyer Charles Bach would not say if his client does have the virus but does contend that the lawsuit is frivolous.

“We believe this is a totally frivolous lawsuit. These allegations are baseless,” Bach said. “He’s healthy and would like to keep his health status private. We’ll do our talking in court.”

The lawsuit was filed on January 30 at the Queens Supreme Court. Alomar has had the case transferred to Brooklyn Federal Court this Tuesday.

Could Football Players Have Brain Damage That Will Kill Them?

An autopsy for Tom McHale showed that he like five other former National Football League players had brain abnormalities. Those brain problems stem from years of concussions received while playing football.

McHale died at the age of 45. He joins a list of five others, Houston Oilers linebacker John Grimsley, former Philadelphia Eagles defensive back Andre Waters; and the former Pittsburgh Steelers Mike Webster, Terry Long and Justin Strzelczyk who had Chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

His widow told the Tampa Tribune that the nine years he played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were violent. He spent his final three years dealing with anxiety, depression and an addiction to pain killers.

“He was fighting with everything he had and he didn’t have a chance,” Lisa McHale said of her husband, who died of an accidental overdose of prescription medications and cocaine. “It’s extremely disturbing for me. Tom and I had no idea such risk existed.”

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) has been known to be a problem for boxers but more recent findings link the condition to both hockey and football players. CTE can affect cognitive abilities, trigger depression and behavior. Boston University researchers are studying the long tern effects of concussions.

Techniques to diagnose CTE can only be administered once a patient is already deceased. That can be a source of worry for players and former players who may be having issues.

The New York Times reports:

“It’s scary — it’s horribly frightening,” said Randy Grimes, who played center next to McHale on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for several years. “I’ve had my share of concussions, too. More than my share. My wife says I have short-term memory loss. It’s really scary to think of what might be going on up there.”

The dead players that are in the study all died between the ages of 36 and 50. Research is using that they had changes in behavior that is similar to dementia in the elderly.

According to Lisa McHale her husband never sustained a concussion while playing football in college or during his professional time. The motions though that the offensive lineman of each play though could very well have caused a whiplash affect.

Greg Aileo, a NFL spokesman, told the New York Times that the league is doing their own study on concussions. That study will be completed in 2010.

“Hundreds of thousands of people have played football and other sports without experiencing any problem of this type,” he said, “and there continues to be considerable debate in the medical community on the precise long-term effects on concussions and how they relate to others.”

The NFL started issuing tougher penalties for helmet-to-helmet blows in 2007. Players who lose consciousness are no longer allowed to return to the game or practice until they have a normal neurological test result.

“I think it’s because this is considered an on-the-job injury and it’s a huge liability,” said Nowinski, a former college football player and professional wrestler who himself retired after suffering the effects of multiple concussions.

As for McHale the injuries he received playing football could be the root of CTE or it could have been his own drug use. The drugs ended up being the cause of his death when he took an accidental overdose of Oxycontin and cocaine.

As for the others? Researchers believe that the link to six NFL’s deaths and CTE is the game itself.

Riot At Soccer Match Leaves 13 Dead, Many Just Young Teens, In The Congo

A soccer player was accused of using witchcraft during a match sparking a riot on Sunday. In the end thirteen laid dead. Most of the victims were just teens between the ages of 11 and 16.

The crowd in Butembo in eastern Congo’s North Kivu province ran for exits as the riot intensified people fell and were suffocated.

Socozaki and Nyuki System were the two soccer clubs involved in the riot.

Police tried to control the violence according to Radio Okapi by firing into the air. The police commander was hit in the head and wounded by fans.

On Monday local teens marched through dirt streets in protest. Regional governor, Julien Mpaluku visited those injured in hospital. Mpaluku has stated that the government is investigating the incident.

The police’s action of shooting into the air had meant to calm an angry mob. Instead the action resulted in panic as the hoards of people all attempted to exit at the same time.

Jericho Scott Is Too Good To Play Little League

Jericho Scott, 9, can whiz a fastball almost 40 mph. That’s impressive for a kid, too impressive. The Youth Baseball League of New Haven in Connecticut has told the young baseball player he can no longer pitch on the league.

Last week Jericho took the mound anyway. The opposing team saw the boy ready to play and packed up their gear forfeiting the game.

There are about 100 players for the three year old league on eight teams. Officials have said that they plan on disbanding Jericho’s team and put the players on other teams. Anyone not on board with that is free to be refunded their $50 sign up fees. Wilfred Vidro, Jericho’s coach has resigned over this mess according to the big wigs.

Vidro says that he didn’t quit and his team has refused to disband. Players and parents held a protest on Saturday urging the league to allow the little boy to pitch.

Yahoo reports the boy’s coach saying:

“He’s never hurt any one,” Vidro said. “He’s on target all the time. How can you punish a kid for being too good?”

This mess seems to be good old small town politics. It seems Jericho turned down an invite to play for the defending league champion. That team just so happens to be sponsored by an employer of one of the administrators for the league. Jericho decided to join the team sponsored by Will Power Fitness. The team was going gang busters, 8-0 and on its way to the playoffs when the administrators decided that young Jericho was just too good.

Peter Noble, the attorney for the league says that Jericho is being banned because he pitches too fast. He says that some of the parents expressed concern over their children being injured. Noble did note that Jericho has never once beaned another player. They also say that Nicole Scott, Jericho’s mother has threatened to close down the league because of this issue.

“I have never seen behavior of a parent like the behavior Jericho’s mother exhibited Wednesday night,” Noble said.

Scott denies the allegation that she threatened anyone but admits to calling the police. She also admits to being angry that her son is being singled out for having such talent.

“I think it’s discouraging when you’re telling a 9-year-old you’re too good at something,” said his mother, Nicole Scott. “The whole objective in life is to find something you’re good at and stick with it. I’d rather he spend all his time on the baseball field than idolizing someone standing on the street corner.”

The league has suggested that Jericho play on an older team or on a different league.

Attorney John Williams thinks that this all mess is wrong. He will be meeting with Jericho’s family Monday to discuss legal options.

At the heart of this problem is a little nine-year-old boy who misses playing a game he loves.

“I feel sad,” he said. “I feel like it’s all my fault nobody could play.”

And that my friends is a crime.

How safe is cheerleading?

The most dangerous sport for female athletes in high schools and colleges is cheerleading. While some may laugh at the notion that cheerleading is a sport those twists and turns can be deadly.

The University of North Carolina’s National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research has listed 67 fatal or life-threatening injuries due to cheerleading since 1982. Compare that to 9 in gymnastics and it’s easy to see the risk.

One of the reasons that the sport is so dangerous is the lack of regulations that education systems have concerning spirit squads. More than 95,000 male and female students a year perform yet school boards don’t impose rules that would insure student safety.

Because of the lack of regulations for reporting injuries there are likely more injuries than reported.

Each year as the sport becomes more competitive young adults take great risks that could end up ending their lives.

Many schools cut out gymnastic teams in the 1980s because of the high liability costs. When that happened more and more cheerleading squads added high flying acrobatics to their routines.

Only 20 states even recognize that cheerleading is a sport. Because of the lack of athletic status there is an oversight when it comes down to the safety of the activity.

Many of the injuries that are life-threatening take place because of falls when a routine goes wrong.

In 2005, Ashley Burns, a 14-year-old from Medford, Mass., died after being thrown into the air and landing on her stomach, causing her spleen to rupture.

Massachusetts athlete, 20-year-old Lauren Chang, died in April, after she was accidentally kicked in the chest during a cheerleading competition.

In 2006 Sacramento City College student Jessica Smith landed headfirst, breaking her back in two places when a teammate who was supposed to catch her lost his balance and fell backward.

Because of these and other incidents more states are beginning to regulate the sport but it’s not enough. Until all schools understand the risks that come with cheerleading there will be accidents that will alter lives forever.

The Olympic Village Is Now Open For Business

The Olympic Village is open for business in Beijing. The flats will house four to eight people each are built to a standard higher than most homes in China.

Chen Zhili, vice-president of the organizing committee in Beijing spoke at the opening ceremony.

“We now welcome athletes from around the world to come to the Games.”

Chen, the so-called mayor of the village, added: “We will try to satisfy the needs of people from different cultural and religious backgrounds.”

Chinese athletes are the first to check in. They will be enjoying features that are uncommon in China such as tap water that is safe to drink.

In total 16,000 athletes from around the world will reside in the high-rise apartments. Some of the apartments are to be solar powered.

The food served in the village could possibly be the safest in all of China. Mobile laboratories will be used to spot check all the food served there.

After the games the village will be refitted and sold. The average Beijing resident though will not be able to afford the luxurious homes though. They will be going for a cool million.