Connect with us
HOUSTON WEATHER

Sports

He Was Fearless on a Football Field. But He Sensed Something Wasn’t Right.

Published

on

CARMEL, Ind. — He was swift and fierce and saw the football field with the eyes of a bird of prey. If the opposing offense ran a pitch out, Evan Hansen would pull the runner to earth in the backfield. If the quarterback grew desperate and fell back to pass, well, God help him. Evan — quick, spinning, a dervish of a linebacker — would drill him.

He was a gregarious teammate, as at ease comforting a nervous freshman as he was talking with coaches and parents, which explained why he was voted team captain on a nationally ranked N.C.A.A. Division III team. A 21-year-old senior at Wabash College, he had a ticket to France to see his girlfriend at Christmas break, his future pregnant with possibility.

And just after senior day in September 2018, Evan Hansen walked into the woods and shot himself.

Many months later, the scientists at Boston University who examined his brain after he died told his parents, Chuck and Mary Hansen, what the couple had suspected from the moment they lost their son: The folds of Evan’s brain and top of his spinal column were speckled with the plaque Tau. This young man had developed chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the degenerative and incurable disease linked to repeated hits to the head and found in the brains of so many deceased football players.

The brain is a fine-tuned instrument, and it is difficult to draw definitive correlation between a degenerative disease and suicide, that loneliest of ends. Young men are at greater risk of suicide than young women. That said, depression is a handmaiden of C.T.E., according to those who have studied the disease, as are short-circuited memory and a sense of bewilderment, and all those problems haunted Evan in his final months.

Evan’s father and mother, Chuck and Mary, invited me recently to talk at their kitchen table in a handsome brick home on a cul-de-sac north of Indianapolis, surrounded by photos of their three sons, strapping young men with big smiles. Evan, 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, began to struggle with depression when he was 19, they said, by which time he was in his 11th straight year of playing tackle football with that relentless abandon of his.

“He was fearless and not afraid of pain,” Mary said. “Stick your nose in there. He loved the game.”

As afternoon yielded to twilight, the couple spoke of their son in tenses that alternated between present and past. They have decided to speak publicly about his brain injuries and his struggles with depression. With their words, they hope to lead other parents to an understanding of C.T.E., and to a more cautious relationship with tackle football.

The Hansens are observant Catholics and believe in providing succor. Evan volunteered at his church, working as a Spanish translator at a food pantry for homeless and poor families. At Joe’s Butcher Shop, he would greet regulars with a buoyant hello and a touch on the arm. At school he ran in no jock clique. More than once, parents asked him to speak with their children and help work through one adolescent struggle or another.

Then depression’s whirlpool began to tug at him.

Mom, Evan said, my life is so good and yet I feel dark.

Evan saw doctors and took medications, although those made him feel worse. (There is no medication or cure for C.T.E.) But he did not withdraw from the world. He was so close with his former girlfriend, Brianna, that he often stopped by and talked with her parents. Her father, Steven Shackelford, had been his high school defensive coach.

Shackelford also stopped by the Hansen house to talk about Evan. He recalled when he first heard of this hotshot high school freshman, and figured, OK, all right, let’s see. He laughed. “All of the rumors were true,” Shackelford said. “If I had a son, if I could have picked a husband for Brianna — ”

He fought for composure.

“Evan was the model. He set the bar.”

Enter your email address:


Source

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sports

Sports Report: Vote in biggest icon in L.A. sports history tournament (wild-card regional)

Published

on

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the tournament.

As we continue our “Biggest Icon in L.A. Sports History” tournament, we move on to the wild-card regional.

Some rules.

1. There are four regionals (basketball, baseball, football and wild card), with 32 people in each regional, seeded from No. 1 to No. 32. The winner of each regional will face off in the Final Four until we get to the championship round, where the last two remaining competitors will be voted upon.

2. With each matchup, there will be a link for you to click on where you can go vote. You will be able to vote either via Twitter, Polldaddy or email.

3. When voting, ask yourself “When I think L.A. sports, who do I think of first?” and vote for that person.

4. A brief sentence or two accompanies each entrant below. It is not meant to be an all-encompassing list of their accomplishments, just a brief reminder of why they are on this list.

So without further ado, let’s get to today’s regional first round, the wild-card regional. Click here to take part in the basketball regional. Click here to take part in the baseball regional. Click here to take part in the football regional.

No. 1 Jackie Robinson vs. No. 32 John Force

Jackie Robinson: He never played pro baseball in L.A. and was a multi-sport star at UCLA, so we moved him to the wild-card category. Robinson was the school’s first athlete to win varsity letters in four sports: baseball, basketball, football, and track. He was one of four black players on the Bruins’ 1939 football team. They went undefeated with four ties at 6–0–4. In track and field, Robinson won the 1940 NCAA title in the long jump at 24 feet 10¼ inches. Baseball was Robinson’s worst sport at UCLA, as he hit .097 in his only season.

John Force: Born in Bell Gardens, Force is a 16-time NHRA and one-time AHRA funny car champion driver and a 21-time champion car owner. He has 15 career victories in drag racing.

Vote via Twitter

Vote via Polldaddy

Vote via email

No. 2 Wayne Gretzky vs. No. 31 Bob Baffert

Wayne Gretzky: The greatest hockey player of all time, Gretzky expanded the hockey audience in the L.A. area and made the Kings a force to be reckoned with after he was acquired from the Edmonton Oilers.

Bob Baffert: A fixture at Santa Anita, Baffert has trained two of horse racing’s Triple Crown winners (Justify and American Pharoah). Overall, his horses have won five Kentucky Derbies, seven Preakness Stakes and three Belmont Stakes.

Vote via Twitter

Vote via Polldaddy

Vote via email

No. 3 The Williams Sisters vs. No. 30 Florence Griffith-Joyner

The Williams Sisters: If you lived through the late 80s-early 90s in L.A., you heard a lot about two phenomenal young tennis players who were going to become the best in the world. It was an early version of the Ball family, without social media. And all the talk proved true, as Serena and Venus Williams became two of the best tennis players of all time, with Serena the greatest female tennis player who ever lived.

Florence Griffith-Joyner: The track legend went to Cal State Northridge and UCLA. With her long, flowing hair and long, colorful fingernails, she was a dynamic figure as she raced to three gold medals at the 1988 Summer Olympics. She won the Sullivan Award as the nation’s top female amateur athlete.

Vote via Twitter

Vote via Polldaddy

Vote via email

No. 4 Oscar De La Hoya vs. No. 29 Michelle Kwan

Oscar de la Hoya: Born in East L.A., De La Hoya was a pro boxer from 1992 to 2008 (turning pro shortly after winning a gold medal in the 1992 Olympics), winning world titles in six weight classes. He is ranked among the top 20 boxers of all time by several experts.

Michelle Kwan: Born in Torrance, she is a two-time Olympic medalist (silver in 1998, bronze in 2002) in figure skating, a five-time world champion (1996, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003) and a nine-time U.S. champion (1996, 1998–2005). On a personal note, I used to eat at the restaurant her parents owned and you could often see a young Michelle Kwan working there.

Vote via Twitter

Vote via Polldaddy

Vote via email

No. 5 David Beckham vs. No. 28 Bill Shoemaker

David Beckham: His signing led to a financial turnaround for the Galaxy, opening them up to new endorsement opportunities. After a rocky start with the team, Beckham eventually led them to two MLS Cup titles and was given a standing ovation when he left the Galaxy home field for the final time.

Bill Shoemaker: Went to El Monte High and became one of the most popular jockeys in Southern California history. He won four Kentucky Derbies, two Preakness Stakes and five Belmont Stakes in his career.

Vote via Twitter

Vote via Polldaddy

Vote via email

No. 6 Tiger Woods vs. No. 27 Jim Healy

Tiger Woods: He grew up in Orange County and was a golf prodigy, eventually becoming one of the two greatest golfers (along with Jack Nicklaus) who ever lived.

Jim Healy: A radio fixture for years in Southern California, Healy used a number of sound effects and audio clips (“drops”) of famous sports personalities, which made his show memorable. Among them: “That’s a bunch of bull,” “That’s just plain poppycock” (President Richard Nixon), or “Jim Healy, you’ve got a weak show” (by a Howard Cosell mimic), followed by the genuine Cosell saying, “Who goofed I’ve got to know.” and “Jim Healy, that’s your lowest shot ever!”

Vote via Twitter

Vote via Polldaddy

Vote via email

No. 7 Pete Sampras vs. No. 26 Jackie Joyner-Kersee

Pete Sampras: Raised in Palos Verdes, Sampras is arguably the greatest men’s tennis player of all time, winning 14 Grand Slam event singles titles.

Jackie Joyner-Kersee: Joyner-Kersee went to UCLA, where she starred in both track and field and in women’s basketball from 1980 to 1985. She then went on to become what many consider the greatest female athlete of all time, winning two Olympic gold medals in the heptathlon and one in the long jump.

Vote via Twitter

Vote via Polldaddy

Vote via email

No. 8 Bob Miller vs. No. 25 Karch Kiraly

Bob Miller: The voice of the Kings from 1973 to 2017 and the best hockey play-by-play man ever. When the Kings finally won the Stanley Cup in 2012, Kings fans demanded and received special audio of Miller calling the winning game. “This is for you, Kings fans, wherever you may be. All the frustration and disappointment of the past is gone. The 45-year drought is over! The Los Angeles Kings are indeed the kings of the National Hockey League. They are the 2012 Stanley Cup champions! The countdown is on — 3, 2, 1, it’s over!”

Karch Kiraly: Kiraly led UCLA to three men’s volleyball titles in his four seasons with the team (they were second the other year). In his four years, the Bruins compiled a 123–5 match record, with titles in 1979, 1981 and 1982. They went undefeated in the 1979 and 1982 seasons. He won three Olympic gold medals in volleyball (two indoor and one beach) and became one of the best beach volleyball players of all time.

Vote via Twitter

Vote via Polldaddy

Vote via email

No. 9 Luc Robitaille vs. No. 24 John Ramsey

Luc Robitaille: Robitaille was NHL rookie of the year after scoring 45 goals to go along with 39 assists for the 1986-87 Kings. He scored more than 40 goals in each of his first eight seasons, including three 50-or-more-goal seasons, with a career-high 63 in 1992-93. The Forum was filled with shouts of “Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuc” throughout his tenure with the team and he remains one of the most popular, and best, players in team history.

John Ramsey: His distinctive voice was heard as the public-address announcer at various Southern California stadiums for decades. He was a public-address announcer for the Dodgers, Angels, Kings, Lakers, Rams and Trojans. He also announced four Super Bowls in Southern California as well as serving as the basketball PA voice during the 1984 Summer Olympics. His voice was also heard through seven World Series; the 1959, 1967 and 1980 Major League Baseball All-Star game; 10 NBA Finals and the 1963 and 1972 NBA All-Star games.

Vote via Twitter

Vote via Polldaddy

Vote via email

No. 10 Marcel Dionne vs. No. 23 Arthur Ashe

Marcel Dionne: In his 12-season Kings career, Dionne scored 550 goals and had 757 assists, making nine All-Star teams and being named the league’s most outstanding player twice. He is the Kings’ all-time leader in assists, points and hat tricks.

Arthur Ashe: In 1965, Ashe won both the NCAA singles title and the doubles title (with Ian Crookenden), helping UCLA win the team NCAA tennis championship. He went on to become one of the best men’s tennis players of all time, winning three Grand Slam event singles titles and 76 singles titles overall.

Vote via Twitter

Vote via Polldaddy

Vote via email

No. 11 Jim Murray vs. No. 22 Ryan Getzlaf

Jim Murray: The sports columnist worked at The Times for 37 years and was frequently the first place people turned when picking up the paper each morning. He was named National Sportswriter of the Year 14 times and won a Pulitzer Prize in 1990.

Ryan Getzlaf: A first-round selection, 19th overall, at the 2003 NHL draft, Getzlaf has played his entire pro career with the Ducks. He has played in three NHL All-Star games and was a member of the Ducks’ 2007 Stanley Cup championship team. He has led the Ducks in assists seven times.

Vote via Twitter

Vote via Polldaddy

Vote via email

No. 12 Rafer Johnson vs. No. 21 Jonathan Quick

Rafer Johnson: He was such a good athlete, he could have fit into any of the regionals, but this seems like the right spot. At UCLA, Johnson played basketball under John Wooden and was a starter on the 1959-60 men’s basketball team. He was selected by the Rams in the 28th round of the 1959 NFL draft as a running back. He won a gold medal in the decathlon at the 1960 Summer Olympics. He lit the torch at the 1984 Summer Olympics and he helped apprehend Sirhan Sirhan after the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.

Jonathan Quick: He was the starting goalie for both of the Kings’ Stanley Cup title teams and was named MVP of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, the most recent goaltender to win the award.

Vote via Twitter

Vote via Polldaddy

Vote via email

No. 13 Billie Jean King vs. No. 20 Rob Blake

Billie Jean King: King won 39 Grand Slam event titles in tennis: 12 in singles, 16 in women’s doubles, and 11 in mixed doubles. She was born in Long Beach and went to Long Beach Poly High and Cal State Los Angeles. She is a true pioneer in women’s sports and is currently a part owner of the Dodgers. King is an advocate for gender equality and has long been an advocate for equality and social justice.

Rob Blake: The current general manager of the Kings, Blake played for the team for 14 seasons split over two tenures and won the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman after the 1997-98 season.

Vote via Twitter

Vote via Polldaddy

Vote via email

No. 14 Landon Donovan vs. No. 19 Anze Kopitar

Landon Donovan: Born in Ontario, Calif., Donovan played soccer overseas and with the MLS’ San Jose Earthquakes before signing with the L.A. Galaxy in 2005, leading the team to four MLS titles and becoming a fixture on the U.S. men’s national team.

Anze Kopitar: The current captain of the Kings, Kopitar made his debut with them in 2006 and has spent his entire career with the team. He has led the team in scoring in all but two of his seasons and is fifth in franchise history in points, goals, and assists. Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016, as well as the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy for gentlemanly play the same year. He won his second Selke trophy in 2018.

Vote via Twitter

Vote via Polldaddy

Vote via email

No. 15 Dick Enberg vs. No. 18 Teemu Selanne

Dick Enberg: In the late 1960s, Enberg began a full-time sportscasting career in Los Angeles, working for KTLA television (calling UCLA basketball) and KMPC radio (calling Rams football and Angels baseball). After every Angels victory, he would wrap up his broadcast with “And the halo shines tonight” in reference to the “Big A” scoreboard at Anaheim Stadium and the halo at the top, which would light up for everyone in the area to see.

Teemu Selanne: Perhaps the favorite Ducks player of all time among fans, he led the team to their only Stanley Cup title and had 457 goals in 15 seasons with the team. No other Duck has more than 372.

Vote via Twitter

Vote via Polldaddy

Vote via email

No. 16 Rogie Vachon vs. No. 17 Sinjin Smith/Randy Stoklos

Rogie Vachon: The former Kings goalie was runner-up for the Vezina Trophy in 1974–75 and was named the team MVP four times between 1973 and 1977. Vachon also set many goaltending records in Kings history that still stand. His No. 30 was the first number retired by the Kings, in a ceremony on Feb. 14, 1985. He has since served in a variety of executive positions with the Kings organization.

Sinjin Smith/Randy Stoklos: Beach volleyball would not have reached the heights it has in the L.A. area without this dynamic team. They won one U.S. championship and five world championships together and even had their own video game, appropriately titled “Kings of the Beach.”

Vote via Twitter

Vote via Polldaddy

Vote via email

SO-FI STADIUM

A second construction worker at the SoFi Stadium development in Inglewood has tested positive for COVID-19, according to an internal email by the joint venture overseeing the project. Mandatory temperature checks are being instituted for workers on site.

The email, sent Tuesday by Turner-AECOM Hunt and reviewed by The Times, said the person last worked March 29 on two parking lots at the 298-acre project.

“The worker was located in an isolated area outside the building performing backfill operations in Parking Lots F & G,” the email said. “The individual had not at any time entered the building or used any of its common areas.”

The worker is “receiving care and recovering,” according to the email. Co-workers who had “close contact” with the worker are in self-quarantine and equipment and facilities the worker used are being disinfected.

BORN ON THIS DAY

1898: Football player/coach Curly Lambeau (d. 1965)

1957: Golfer Seve Ballesteros (d. 2011)

1961: Former Angel Kirk McCaskill

1971: Racecar driver Jacques Villeneuve

DIED ON THIS DAY

2001: Baseball player Willie Stargell, 61

2009: Angels player Nick Adenhart, 22

2012: Diver Mark Lenzi, 43

AND FINALLY

Pac-12 Hall of Honor inductee Rafer Johnson. Watch it here.



Enter your email address:


Source

Continue Reading

Sports

Premier League Players and Clubs Fight Over Who Pays for Coronavirus Crisis

Published

on

But now, through some trick of the light, what they gave back to society became firmly enmeshed with what they were prepared to give back to their clubs.

Many of the players felt that Tottenham’s decision was an attempt to back them into a corner, forcing them to take a pay cut or risk appearing greedy, aloof and out of touch during the pandemic. To some extent, it worked: Two days later, the country’s health secretary, Matt Hancock, urged players to “play their part” by taking a pay cut.

Julian Knight, a Conservative Party lawmaker, linked players’ pay to health care workers, saying that “the first thing Premier League footballers can do is make a contribution, take a pay cut, and play their part,” given the “sacrifices” being made by front-line workers in the health service.

The players, though, did not see the link between those two things quite so clearly. They wanted to help, but wondered if doing so with a pay cut — rather than direct donations — might simply save money for their team owners, rather than benefiting the health service. Their salaries are taxed, after all; any cut would lead to a reduction of income for the treasury, and ultimately, the N.H.S.

That situation was complicated by the role of the players’ union, led by its longstanding chief executive, Gordon Taylor, who is thought to be the highest-paid trade union leader in the world. The union works not just for Premier League players; it also represents the interests of the hundreds of professionals farther down soccer’s pyramid.

Its concern, in negotiations, was that any agreement with the Premier League might later be copied for use in the lower leagues, where salaries are markedly lower. Its priority was to protect members who could not afford to take a pay cut, or who had already received missives from clubs commanding them to accept a reduced salary.

Enter your email address:


Source

Continue Reading

Sports

Mississippi State Football Coach Must Visit Civil Rights Museum After Noose Tweet

Published

on

The first-year football coach at Mississippi State University has been reprimanded and must visit a civil rights museum after he recently shared a meme on Twitter of a woman knitting a noose, the university’s athletic director said this week.

The coach, Mike Leach, 59, who has since apologized for the post, also must participate in a series of listening sessions to “expand his cultural awareness” of the state, John Cohen, the athletic director, said in a statement on Tuesday.

The meme, which Leach posted on April 1 and later deleted, featured a black-and-white image of an older white woman with knitting needles. Its caption read, “After 2 weeks of quarantine with her husband, Gertrude decided to knit him a scarf.”

But instead of a scarf, a hangman’s knot was on the woman’s lap, an image that critics said was highly offensive and evoked the lynchings of black people in the Deep South. At least one player on the football team has announced his plans to transfer because of Leach’s tweet.

“No matter the context, for many Americans the image of a noose is never appropriate and that’s particularly true in the South and in Mississippi,” Cohen said. “Mississippi State University was disappointed in the use of such an image in a tweet by Coach Mike Leach.”

Leach, whom Mississippi State hired in January from Washington State University, expressed remorse over the post the next day.

“I sincerely regret if my choice of images in my tweets were found offensive,” Leach wrote on Thursday. “I had no intention of offending anyone.”

Fabien Lovett, 20, a defensive tackle who grew up in Vicksburg, Miss., responded to his coach on Twitter with an expletive. Lovett said in an interview on Wednesday that he was upset by Leach’s tweet and was seeking to transfer because of the post.

“We’re in the South,” Lovett said. “We’re in Mississippi. Stuff like that plays a huge role in our family, especially black men. Our ancestors were lynched.”

Lovett said he was dissatisfied with the university’s response and with Leach’s apology, which he described as insincere.

“That’s the prime example of why I need to leave Mississippi,” he said.

Mississippi State did not make Leach available for further comment on Wednesday. An athletic department spokesman referred to the statement Cohen issued on Tuesday.

“The university is confident thatCoach Leach is moving quickly and sincerely past this unintended misstep and will provide the leadership for our student athletes and excitement for our football program that our fans deserve and that our students and alumni will be proud to support,” Cohen said in the statement.

Cohen said he planned to have Leach participate in listening sessions with student, alumni and community groups. Leach will also visit the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, he said.

Enter your email address:


Source

Continue Reading

Trending

//ofgogoatan.com/afu.php?zoneid=2954224
This website uses cookies. If you continue to use the website, we assume your consent.
accept