athletes

Concussions
5:01 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Football Players Drill Without Helmets To Curb Concussions

Making and taking a hit chest to chest, instead of skull to skull, is easier to remember if you're not wearing a helmet, say University of New Hampshire Wildcat football players.
Jack Rodolico New Hampshire Public Radio

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 7:49 pm

The University of New Hampshire Wildcats are heading into a do-or-die quarterfinal football game this week against the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga.

And whether they win or not, there's one thing you can say about the Wildcats: They are likely the only football team in America trying to reduce concussions by practicing without helmets.

Football has a concussion problem, from the National Football League down to Pee-Wee teams. And there are lots of efforts out there to fix it.

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Sweetness and Light
10:05 am
Wed December 10, 2014

Deford: What's Wrong With Pro Athletes Taking A Stand?

Members of the St. Louis Rams raise their arms to protest the grand jury decision in Ferguson, Mo., before a game last month. The players faced a backlash from St. Louis police and have been asked to apologize.
L.G. Patterson AP

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 6:23 am

A common complaint I've long heard was that current athletes were selfish and not politically involved like their passionate forebears –– players like Jim Brown, Billie Jean King, Bill Russell and Arthur Ashe.

My response was, "Well, how many of the modern athletes' peers are especially engaged in social controversy?" It wasn't fair to compare the sensibility of the athletes of, say, 1995 or 2005 to those of 1965; the apt comparison is with other members of their own cohort.

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Injury
2:20 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

NFL Quarterback Cam Newton Injures Back In Car Crash

A truck driven by Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton sits near Bank of America Stadium after the quarterback was involved in an accident Tuesday.
Skip Foreman AP

Originally published on Tue December 9, 2014 4:39 pm

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton suffered two fractured in his back Tuesday but escaped without other injury, after a vehicle he was driving crashed around 12:30 p.m. ET. The truck reportedly flipped several times on a bridge in central Charlotte, where Church Street passes over Interstate 277.

"The severity of Newton's injuries was not immediately available but witnesses told Channel 9 that Newton's truck flipped four times," WSOC Channel 9 TV reports.

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Athletes and Protest
2:22 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

A Brief History Of Racial Protest In Sports

Members of the St. Louis Rams raise their arms in a "hands up, don't shoot" pose as they walk onto the field before an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders.
L.G. Patterson AP

On Sunday, five St. Louis Rams players jogged onto the field with their arms raised by their heads, a stream of fog behind them: hands up, don't shoot.

The players — Tavon Austin, Kenny Britt, Jared Cook, Chris Givens and Stedman Bailey — were invoking the gesture that's been widely used in protesting the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson. This followed the announcement that a grand jury would not indict Wilson in Brown's death, and the release of a hefty batch of evidence shown to the jury by St. Louis prosecutor Robert McCullough.

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Athletes
5:42 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

USA Swimming Suspends Michael Phelps Over DUI Arrest

Michael Phelps reacts following the men's 200m butterfly final at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre in Gold Coast in August.
Patrick Hamilton AFP/Getty Images

Eighteen-time Gold medalist Michael Phelps, who was arrested for Driving Under the Influence, has been suspended for six months and will miss the 2015 FINA World Championships, USA Swimming announced on Monday.

"Michael's conduct was serious and required significant consequences," USA Swimming Executive Director Chuck Wielgus said in a statement.

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Running
2:09 pm
Sun September 28, 2014

Kenya's Kimetto Sets New Marathon World Record In Berlin

Kenya's Dennis Kimetto crosses the finish line to win the Berlin Marathon Sunday. Kimetto set a new world marathon record, breaking the 2 hour, 3 minute mark for the first time.
Tobias Schwarz AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun September 28, 2014 3:00 pm

For the first time, the world record in the marathon is now under 2 hours and 3 minutes, after Dennis Kimetto of Kenya tore through the course at Sunday's Berlin Marathon. Kimetto, 30, says he wants to set a new record next year.

"I feel good because I won a very tough race," Kimetto said after the finish. "I felt good from the start and in the last few miles I felt I could do it and break the record. I believe I can improve it further. I'd like to return and try to break it again next year."

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Domestic Violence
3:34 am
Mon September 22, 2014

NFL Looks To Training To Prevent Domestic Violence By Players

No amount of training can undo the violence someone experienced at home as a child, but it can help break the cycle.
Pamela Albin Moore iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed September 24, 2014 9:14 am

On Friday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell broke a week of silence following the release of a video that showed former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice assaulting his then-fiancee.

Goodell apologized for his role in the NFL's handling of the matter.

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Connecticut's Crash Davis
12:00 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Bridgeport Bluefish Ballplayer to Retire After 20-Year Career

Luis Lopez.
Jonathan McNicol/WNPR

When Luis Lopez played his first professional baseball game, Bill Clinton was president, “Forrest Gump” had just beaten “Pulp Fiction” for best picture at the Academy Awards, and Derek Jeter was still a year away from his rookie season with the New York Yankees.

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Football
8:47 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Two More NFL Players Placed On 'Exempt List' Over Domestic Violence

Carolina Panthers' Greg Hardy waves to fans as he arrives for an NFL football practice in Charlotte, N.C., Sept. 11, 2014.
Chuck Burton ASSOCIATED PRESS

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 8:44 pm

Two more players were benched by NFL teams on Wednesday over allegations of domestic violence.

First, the Carolina Panthers placed their star defensive end Greg Hardy on the exempt list and then the Arizona Cardinals deactivated running back Jonathan Dwyer.

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NFL
8:25 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

NFL's Baltimore Ravens Cut Ray Rice After New Video Surfaces

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was suspended by the NFL for two games this season after an incident in which he assaulted his then-fiancee, Janay Palmer.
Patrick Semansky AP

A leaked video of the altercation between football star Ray Rice and his then-fiancee, Janay Palmer, that took place earlier this year has led the Baltimore Ravens to terminate Rice's contract.

The NFL says Rice has also been suspended indefinitely.

The newly released video shows the couple in an apparent argument before Palmer collapses after being hit in the face. It emerged early Monday, days before Rice's two-game suspension over the incident had been set to end.

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Tennis
3:54 pm
Sun September 7, 2014

Serena Williams Wins U.S. Open For 18th Grand Slam Title

Serena Williams reacts after defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark to win their women's singles final match of the 2014 U.S. Open on Sunday. The win was Williams' 18th Grand Slam title.
Al Bello Getty Images

Originally published on Sun September 7, 2014 11:19 pm

When Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki faced off Sunday, the current and former world No. 1 players were both trying to make their own brand of history. For Williams, it was a chance to match Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova; for Wozniacki, a win would have brought her first Grand Slam title.

But Williams, who has been dominating this tournament, did not slow down and quickly took the first two sets 6-3, 6-3.

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Football
7:54 am
Fri August 29, 2014

NFL Lays Out New Penalty For Domestic Violence: 6-Game Suspension

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, shown here in January, has sent an open letter to NFL team owners explaining the league's new policies for preventing and punishing domestic violence and sexual assault.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 5:07 pm

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has announced new guidelines for how the league will handle incidents of domestic violence and sexual assault. The change in policy, explained an open letter to team owners, comes a month after the NFL was criticized for how it handled player Ray Rice's arrest on domestic violence charges.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:07 am
Tue August 26, 2014

Out With the Windmills: Miniature Golf Goes Pro

Colin Bartlett Creative Commons

Mini-golf was created for children but today's children are less and less interested in playing because of video games. Nintendo Wii for example, makes mini-golf video games. Now, that seems so wrong. You should go somewhere to play mini-golf. That's kind of the idea, or is it.

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Football
9:42 am
Mon August 18, 2014

Why Are NFL Joint Training Camps On The Rise?

Washington and New England faced off at a joint training camp session that might become a model for the league. (Skip Rowland/AP)

Originally published on Fri August 15, 2014 1:21 pm

The beginning of the NFL season is only three weeks away. To prepare for Week 1, nearly half the league’s franchises are participating in joint practices with other teams, with varying degrees of success. ESPN’s senior NFL writer and commentator John Clayton joined Bill Littlefield to explain why joint practices are more popular than ever.

BL: Joint practices are not new, but they do seem to have become more popular. Why is that?

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Snow Sports
9:42 am
Mon August 18, 2014

Why Olympic Skiers And Snowboarders Are Training In The Ocean

Before competing at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, U.S. skier Heather McPhie learned how to hold her breath off the coast in Hawaii. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Originally published on Fri August 15, 2014 7:16 pm

A group of Olympian skiers and snowboarders have been spending time in Hawaii, and they’re not on vacation. These athletes were training by learning to hold their breath and diving dozens of feet under water.

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College Sports
2:48 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

NCAA Votes To Give New Autonomy To Big Conferences

Kansas State University President Kirk Schulz (left) discusses the NCAA structure Thursday, as Wright State University President David R. Hopkins looks on. The NCAA Board of Directors approved a package of historic reforms Thursday that will give the nation's five biggest conferences the ability to unilaterally change some of the basic rules governing college sports.
Michael Conroy AP

Elite college sports conferences can set their own rules about sharing profits with student-athletes and other matters, under a new policy adopted by the NCAA's Division I Board of Directors on Thursday.

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College Athletes
4:09 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

UConn's Athletic Director Sees Need for Student-Athlete Stipends

Warde Manuel in a WNPR file photo.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

UConn's athletic director said he opposes the idea of unions for college athletes, but sees the need to provide students on athletic scholarships with additional money. 

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Is Boston Fit to Carry the Olympic Torch?

2012 London Olympics.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office Creative Commons

We’ve spent a lot of time considering whether it’s a good idea to build a new minor league ballpark in Hartford to lure a team up the road from New Britain.  

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NBA Draft
9:01 am
Fri June 27, 2014

UConn's Shabazz Napier Joins the Miami Heat

Former UConn star Shabazz Napier will start his professional career with the Miami Heat.
Peter Morenus UConn Today

The Miami Heat hope that UConn's King can keep The King in South Beach. Shabazz Napier was drafted in the first round of the NBA draft by the Charlotte Hornets, who subsequently traded him to Miami.

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Sweetness and Light
8:21 am
Wed June 25, 2014

Deford: NCAA Says Amateurism Is Alive And Well, But The Jig Is Up

Wisconsin's Traevon Jackson at practice for the 2014 NCAA men's college basketball tournament. Commentator Frank Deford says that, despite NCAA claims to the contrary, most college players are not typical students — "their job is to play a sport."
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Wed June 25, 2014 12:48 pm

Amateurism is dead, revealed so in the trial against the NCAA now in progress in Oakland, Calif., U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken presiding. Before her skeptical eyes, amateurism has been laid out naked on a courtroom slab for a jury of all fans to see that it has no beating heart.

Amateurism, Judge Wilken has been told in the case, commonly known as the O'Bannon trial, nobly protects college athletes from being exploited by evil outsiders — so the NCAA knighthood was created in order that colleges could tie up athletes all by themselves.

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Basketball
12:33 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

LeBron James And Lance Stephenson Share Odd And Quiet Moment In NBA Game

Lance Stephenson blows into Lebron James' ear during their playoff game Wednesday night.
YouTube

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 3:05 pm

There are many ways to psych out an opponent. The Indiana Pacers' Lance Stephenson went the unconventional route last night, softly blowing into LeBron James' ear during a pause late in their playoff game.

"He didn't just do that," James' face seems to say.

"Yes I did," Stephenson's expression answers.

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Football
8:39 am
Fri May 9, 2014

NFL Draft's First Round: Manziel Slides, No Running Backs Taken

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel poses for photos after being selected by the Cleveland Browns as the 22nd pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Thursday.
Craig Ruttle AP

The first round of the NFL brought a few surprises Thursday, after No. 1 pick Jadeveon Clowney of South Carolina went to the Houston Texans, as many expected. For many, the story of the night was Heisman winner Johnny Manziel – and how the Cleveland Browns wound up with a new quarterback after skipping him with its first pick.

The Browns took a convoluted route to get Manziel: the team traded away its No. 4 pick, then made other trades that slightly shifted their other slots.

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Sports Journalism
10:48 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Sports Reporting: The Way It Was ... And Is

Back in the day, people used to ask Frank Deford who he thought was the greatest boxer. Nowadays, nobody even asks about boxing.
Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 10:08 am

When I was a young, cocksure lad in this business, one thing I hated was for anyone in the Old Guard to preface an observation about sports by saying, "It used to be ... "

Invariably, the point was that it used to be better.

I promised myself that I'd never become a "used-to-be" guy. But for the benefit of today's young, cocksure lads in the business, here I go:

It used to be that people always asked me if athletes weren't making too much money. Nobody ever asks me that anymore. The only money issue I hear now is, "Why aren't college athletes paid?"

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WAMC News
9:05 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Authorities Say Security Was High But Not Oppressive At First Boston Marathon Since The Bombings

US Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson addresses people at the Multi-Agency Coordination Center for the 2014 Boston Marathon at the Mass. Emergency Management Agency

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 6:16 pm

The 118th Boston Marathon took place today amid heavy security a year after the bombings near the race’s finish line that killed three people and wounded more than 260 others.

State and local police officers were highly visible—even positioned on the rooftops of some buildings.  Bomb-sniffing dogs checked trash containers. Spectators had to pass through metal detectors to get to some areas.  Authorities said the entire 26.2- mile race course was under video surveillance. Helicopters circled overhead.

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WAMC News
9:05 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Sports Report: American Wins Boston Marathon For First Time In 31 Years

Olympian Meb Keflezighi in the 2014 Boston Marathon.

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 7:48 am

The 118th running of the Boston Marathon was completed without incident yesterday and featured the first U.S. citizen in 31 years to win the event.

Former New York City Marathon champion and Olympic medalist Meb Keflezighi won in a time of 2 hours, 8 minutes, 37 seconds.

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Boston Marathon
10:21 am
Mon April 21, 2014

As It Happened: American Wins 118th Running Of The Boston Marathon

Boylston Street's 26-mile marker will be a welcome sight to the thousands of runners who are in today's Boston Marathon. Today marks the 118th running of the race.
Jared Wickerham Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 7:11 pm

There is no doubt the bombings of last year cast a long shadow on the 118th running of the Boston Marathon.

It was an inevitable backdrop: The signs on the buildings that line the course near the finish are usually covered in witty, encouraging posters. This year, they encouraged a greater kind of perseverance.

"Boston Strong," they exhorted.

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Boston Marathon
6:56 am
Mon April 21, 2014

The Boston Marathon Through The Eyes Of Two Men Who Love It

Boston Marathon race director Dave McGillivray (right) greets runners during the Boston Athletic Association 10K race in Boston last year.
Aram Boghosian Boston Globe via Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 6:32 pm

Dave McGillivray likely knows the Boston Marathon better than anyone else.

McGillivray is the race's director — responsible for all the details of the oldest and most prestigious marathon in the world. And for the past 41 years, he has also run all 26.2 miles of the course. For the past 27 years, he's done so after his work duties are done.

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One Year Later
11:53 am
Sun April 20, 2014

A Witness To The Bombing, A Nurse Returns To Boston As A Runner

Amelia Nelson (right) and her friend Kristy were volunteers at the 2013 Boston Marathon when the bombings happened.
Courtesy of Amelia Nelson

Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.

As a volunteer for the 2013 Boston Marathon, nurse Amelia Nelson thought should would be there to help runners as they came across the finish line.

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Sports
8:07 am
Sun April 20, 2014

How NBA Players Get Rest In An 82-Game Season

Originally published on Sun April 20, 2014 11:53 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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One Year Later
7:53 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Runner Returns To Boston With A New Outlook On Life

A March 2014 portrait of Demi Clark in front of her Mount Pleasant, S.C., home.
Wright Bryan NPR

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 5:14 pm

Eight runners entered in the 2014 Boston Marathon are documenting their race preparations for NPR in a Tumblr blog. Demi Clark is one of the eight, and this is her story.

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