Saturday, August 31, 2013

New Rhule, same old Temple in loss at South Bend

There could have been easier places for Matt Rhule to make his debut as Temple head football coach, but the schedule dictated it would be in South Bend, Indiana against one of the best-known programs in the history of college football.

Tommy Rees' return to the starting quarterback's role was a smashing success, with the Notre Dame senior throwing for a career-best 346 yards along with three touchdowns to lead the 14th-ranked Fighting Irish to a convincing 28-6 season-opening win over the over-matched Owls.

Rees, a 12-game starter in 2011 who backed up Everett Golson during the Irish's run to the BCS National Championship Game last season, completed 16-of-23 passes and fired a pair of 32-yard scoring strikes to DaVarris Daniels to help Notre Dame (1-0) head coach Brian Kelly earn his 200th career victory.

T.J. Jones came up with a big game as well for the Fighting Irish, amassing 138 yards on six receptions.

Golson was suspended for the fall semester for failing to fill academic obligations.

Connor Reilly threw for 228 yards on 23-of-46 passing while adding 65 on the ground for Temple (0-1), but the Owls allowed 544 total yards in its first season opener not against Villanova since 2008.

Saturday's matchup was the first ever between the schools.

Villanova, interestingly enough, fell 24-14 at Boston College, in the Eagles debut of former Temple head football coach Steve Addazio.

Notre Dame's defense then forced a quick three-and-out, and Rees went right to work again. His next pass hit Jones in stride for a 51-yard gain deep into enemy territory, and Daniels burned the Owls' secondary again for another 32- yard touchdown grab two plays later to put Temple in a quick 14-0 hole.

The Owls were able to get something going near the end of the first quarter, but an extended drive that got as far as the Irish 15 ended without points after Jim Cooper misfired on a 32-yard field goal attempt.

Cooper missed wide right from 43 yards out on Temple's next possession, which again got into the red zone before being backed up by a delay of game penalty and Stephon Tuitt's sack of Reilly.

The Owls finally got on the board late in the first half, with Reilly directing a 9-play, 78-yard sequence highlighted by completions of 26 and 20 yards to Ryan Alderman and Romond Deloatch, respectively.

Deloatch's catch set up a 1st-and-goal that Kenny Harper cashed in with a 1-yard plunge that came 1:01 prior to the intermission.

Cooper's extra point try was blocked by Jarron Jones, however, and the Owls' momentum was swiftly stopped when Rees hit tight end Troy Niklas over the middle for a tide-turning 66-yard touchdown that enabled Notre Dame to enter the break owning a 21-6 advantage.

Temple did make a bid to get back in it, with Reilly coming up with a pair of big third-down completions as the Owls took the initial series of the second half inside the Notre Dame 10. However, the Irish defense stiffened to force four straight incompletions and the Owls turned the ball over on downs.

Notre Dame proceeded to churn out 94 yards in just seven plays, including Rees' 33-yard pass to Chris Brown that set up George Atkinson's 2-yard touchdown that gave the Irish a 22-point lead with 5:37 left in the third quarter.

The Owls failed to threaten from that moment on, with their final drive stopped on downs at the Irish 33 following a Reilly incompletion.

Notes: Rees' previous career high for passing yards was 334, set against Tulsa on October. 30, 2010 ... Jones had the first 100-yard receiving game of his career, surpassing a 97-yard output against Wake Forest during November 17 of last season ... Of Kelly's 200 wins, 29 have come at Notre Dame and 118 were compiled at Division II Grand Valley State from 1991-2003. He also won 34 games at Cincinnati (2006-09) and 19 at Central Michigan (2004-06) ... Rhule was a Temple assistant for six years from 2006-11 and the assistant offensive line coach of the New York Giants last season ... In their last non-Mayor's Cup season opener, the Owls took down Army by a 35-7 score at West Point on August 29 of that year.

Eagles cut former first-round pick Watkins

Former first-round pick Danny Watkins was released by the Philadelphia Eagles along with nine other roster hopefuls as the team reduced its roster to the 53-man limit on Saturday.

Watkins, the 23rd overall pick out of Baylor in 2011, played just four years of competitive football -- the last two as an offensive tackle in Waco -- before the Eagles drafted him at age 26.

He started 12 games as a rookie at right guard, but that number was cut in half before he was benched last season.

Watkins is the first Eagles first-rounder to be released after just two seasons with the club since Jon Harris in 1999

Philadelphia also cut ties with veteran tight end Clay Harbor, wide receivers Greg Salas and Russell Shepard, offensive tackle Michael Bamiro, running back Matthew Tucker, linebackers Chris McCoy and Travis Long and safety David Sims.

Harbor played in 39 games over his three seasons in Philadelphia, snaring 47 catches for 421 yards and four touchdowns.

The Eagles will open their regular season on Sept. 9, when they visit the Washington Redskins.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Phillies finally sign Gonzalez

PHILADELPHIA - Cuban ptcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez has signed a three-year, $12 million contract with the Phillies, Senior Vice President & General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. announced today. 

The contract includes a vesting/club option for 2017, a signing bonus and performance bonuses.

Gonzalez, 26, pitched in the 2009 and 2011 World Cup for the Cuban National Team.  Between the two tournaments, Gonzalez went a combined 3-1 with a 2.91 ERA in seven games (six starts) and had 36 strikeouts in 34.0 innings pitched, an average of 9.5 SO/9.0 IP.  In those 34.0 innings, he allowed 31 baserunners (23 H, 7 BB, HBP).

“We are very pleased to have come to an agreement with Miguel,” said Amaro.  “He is someone our scouts have followed for several years and in our most recent observations of him he showed tremendous stuff.  We are hopeful he will pitch out of our starting rotation for 2014 and beyond.”

Gonzalez will report to the Phillies spring training complex in Clearwater, Fla.  To make room for him on the 40-man roster, left-hander John Lannan has been moved to the 60-day disabled list.

Eagles cut Dixon, place Kruger on IR

The Eagles have started trimming their roster, released the following 12 players:

LB Everette Brown, DT Antonio Dixon, DE David King, QB G.J. Kinne, OL Matt Kopa, CB Trevard Lindley (waived with injury settlement), WR Ifeanyi Momah, WR Will Murphy, OL Dallas Reynolds, LB Adrian Robinson and OL Matt Tennant.

The Birds also placed rookie DE Joe Kruger on the injured reserve list with a shoulder injury.

With today’s moves, the team’s roster now stands at 62 players. All NFL teams are required to cut down their rosters to 53 players by 6 pm ET on Saturday, August 31.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Lahoud called up by Sierra Leone

Chester, Pa. – Philadelphia Union midfielder Michael Lahoud has been called up to the Sierra Leone National Team for a 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying match Sept. 7 against the national team of Equatorial Guinea.

Lahoud and his squad will take on Equatorial Guinea at Brookfields National Stadium in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

The 26-year-old midfielder will depart for international duty Sept. 1 – a day after the Union’s home match versus Montreal Impact – and return after the Sept. 7 match. He will miss the Union’s road game against the San Jose Earthquakes Sept. 8.

This marks Lahoud’s first-ever national team call up to his native Sierra Leone. Lahoud has played in eight matches this year for the Union, starting in two.

Flyers announce rookie camp dates, roster

On Thursday afternoon, the Philadelphia Flyers announced that their rookie camp will begin on Friday September 6 at the Virtua Skate Zone in Voorhees, N.J.

It will run for three days and end with the previously-announced rookie game against the Washington Capitals rookies at Kettler Ice Plaza in Arlington, VA on September 9.

Practices will begin at 10:30 AM for the duration.

The Flyers will have 25 players attend rookie camp, listed by position and number below:
Forwards (14)

(64) Brandon Alderson
(56) Tyler Brown
(52) Nick Cousins
(59) Kyle Flanagan
(53) Tyrell Goulbourne
(74) Stephen Harper
(46) Andrew Johnston
(21) Scott Laughton
(58) Taylor Leier
(54) Matt Mangene
(57) Derek Mathers
(47) Marcel Noebels
(73) Andrew Ryan
(51) Petr Straka

Defenseman (8)
(39) Mark Alt
(71) Jared Hauf
(62) Tyler Hostetter
(34) Matt Konan
(50) Maxim Lamarche
(72) Colin MacDonald
(55) Samuel Morin
(70) Mark Nemec

Goalies (3)
(67) Carsen Chubak
(33) Cal Heeter
(49) Anthony Stolarz

Football Deaths Underreported in Game-Funded Studies

By Matt Chaney

A teen football player dies suddenly in America, for reasons unrelated to collisions on the field, and the postmortem investigation produces more questions than answers—particularly whether the stressful sport contributed mortally.

And so it goes for too many fatal cases of active football players, mostly juveniles, with the game’s possible link neither verified nor nullified because of two prime areas of limitation:

First, the reputedly “deficient” state of autopsy in America, especially for children, as part of the death-investigations system that a National Academy of Sciences report characterizes as “fragmented” and “hodgepodge.”

And, secondly, the equally challenged research field of football fatalities, presently funded by game organizations and led by two men lacking medical doctorates and certifications, Fred Mueller and Bob Colgate, a professor and a sport administrator, respectively, who largely troll news reports for gathering incomplete data.

“This goes back to medicine’s still being more of an art than a science,” says retired epidemiologist Charles Yesalis, ScD, an expert and author on health issues of athletics, in a telephone interview.

Football’s mortality rate remains incalculable, despite those longstanding Mueller-Colgate statistics widely cited as epidemiology, including by the CDC.

Holes in death investigations are “known for years,” Yesalis says. “You have the problems articulated (by the NAS), but it goes beyond that. It’s often based on whether an autopsy is done. And even if an autopsy is performed on the athlete, there are a lot of times that it’s just not nailed down, particularly, regarding what’s the cause of death and the like. So there’s that issue.”

Meanwhile, the researchers aiming to quantify football’s risk and casualty face their own obstacles.

Beyond the few cases of collision fatalities tied directly to the sport, injury researchers typically rely on minimal data for judging whether a case was “indirectly” game-related, such as a cardiac death.

News texts, particularly the portion posted in online databases, certainly report only a fraction of severe football casualties, although it’s unknown how large or small the margin.

Anecdotal information and subjectivity can influence the record-keeping process, like coaches’ quotes and other bits from news. In many cardiac cases that kill players, grieving parents declare football was not a factor; some families refuse to cooperate with researchers.

For player deaths involving autopsy, researchers Mueller and Colgate value official rulings, but local coroners or medical examiners, elected to the job in many jurisdictions, often do not go far in probing cause or link to football. Many coroners and MEs are incapable themselves and no specialists are enlisted who could shed light.

“You really have to start digging through the medical charts,” Yesalis suggests for strengthening a Mueller-Colgate study, although “the variability of (medical records) is scary when it comes to producing really solid research.”

“All this variability, of how the medical record is written, how it is accessed or not by the researchers, and whether it’s clear that this event was precipitated and related to some sport activity—football, track and field, whatever—anybody who thinks the process is precise is very naïve and hasn’t done a lot of work with medical records, examining them for research purposes.”

This review of 35 players who died during 2012—see list of annotated cases below—demonstrates the problem: Determining death risk and casualty in vast American football remains a lofty goal, mere talk for the foreseeable future, despite contemporary clamor for accurate injury reporting as part of a “safer” game.

Indeed, Mueller and Colgate, supported by football and published under auspices of Mueller’s National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research (NCCSIR) at UNC-Chapel Hill, qualify merely 15 of these fatalities as game-related for their 2012 report.

Central focus here is the sample of 20 deceased football players missed by Mueller and Colgate for 2012. The review makes no scientific claim beyond the raw data that comprise these news reports. No follow-up is performed on any case, keeping the information in correlate with the generic, brief cases presented by Mueller and Colgate, relying themselves on data culled almost strictly from published news.

Heart problems constitute the leading cause in the sample 20 cases that also include deaths of blood clots, diabetic seizure and football impacts. The sampling from Google banks does not include other sudden deaths of active players available in news, nor painkiller overdoses and suicides of active players that medical experts often suspect to be game-related.

Football Cardiac Deaths Numerous, Underreported

Many medical authorities believe death rates of sports are higher than reported tallies, and in the United States tackle football is chief for their concern, among organized games offered by municipalities, schools and colleges.

As crisis strikes American football, once again for inherent brutality, the modern model for advocacy counter-argument, or the messages of writers proclaiming the game safe as most activities for youths, and of professors who rebuke accumulating research on brain risk and damage, do not impress authorities like Dr. Robert D. Stevens, a critical-care neurologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

“I have a son who is 12, and I’m very grateful he doesn’t want to play football,” Stevens tells The Chicago Sun-Times. “I don’t think we know enough to know we aren’t exposing our kids to harm.”

Yesalis concurs, himself a doctoral graduate of the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, “If I had a son now, there’s no way in hell he’d play football. Wouldn’t happen,” Yesalis says. “I couldn’t permit it as an epidemiologist.”

Neither could Dr. Lewis Margolis, apparently, a pediatrician and epidemiologist at UNC-Chapel Hill, associate professor in the Gillings School of Global Public Health. Margolis argues no further research findings are needed for placing national moratorium on tackle football, a public health menace for brain injuries that needs impact reform to proceed, legally and ethically.

“Football-related head trauma and concussions have raised sentinel alarms, so all who care about children and young adults must not remain silent as this epidemic spreads,” Dr. Margolis writes in a co-authored analysis for, joined by Gregory Margolis, senior research assistant for the Center of Children and Families at the Brookings Institution. “The principles of informed consent, nonmaleficence, fairness, and community participation demand a halt in the way the game is played, until the risks are better understood and controlled,” they conclude.

At Indiana University, a 2011 study on stroke risk in teen football players found potential causal agents of the sport like “increased hyperventilation, repeated neurological injury, use of anabolic steroids, use of highly caffeinated energy drinks and increased obesity among young players.”

Co-authors Dr. Jared R. Brosch and Dr. Meredith R. Golomb added in a statement: “Organized childhood tackle football in the United States can begin at age 5 years, leading to potentially decades of repeated brain injuries. In addition, the body mass index of the United States pediatric football-playing population continues to increase, so the forces experienced by tackled pediatric players continue to increase. Further work is needed to understand how repeated high-impact large-force trauma from childhood football affects the immature central nervous system.”

Football’s ever-increasing sizes obviously tax other systems of the human body, besides for collisions. When an active player is killed by conditions unrelated to impacts, extensive and careful examination best ensures identifying cause and contributing factors, according to experts on sudden death.

“One of the most frustrating challenges faced by the forensic pathologist is the inability to determine the cause of death in a young person previously thought healthy,” observed Drs. Stephen D. Cohle and B.A. Sampson, co-authors of a 2001 review on negative autopsy or inconclusive investigation.

The co-authors recommend steps including microscopic autopsy, appropriate lab tests, and preservation of specimens such as blood, urine, bile and frozen spleen.

Cardiac deaths are perhaps the deadliest class in football, if largely unproven for the game’s being an impetus.

A suspect cardiac death demands special applications for thorough investigation. “When examining the heart grossly it is important to preserve the anatomic landmarks, (to) section the coronary arteries closely, and recognize lethal abnormalities such as anomalous origin of the coronary arteries,” Cohle and Sampson stated, noting some conditions stand nearly undetectable: “Lethal cardiac diseases with minimal or no anatomic findings include Brugade and Garg’s syndromes, the long QT syndrome, and Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome.”

“Consultation with other experts, including cardiac pathologists, cardiologists, electrophysiologists, and molecular biologists, may be helpful in determining a cause of death.”

A recent British study calls for valid tracking and diagnosis of cardiac mortality in sport populations. Dr. Mary N. Sheppard, author ofAetiology of Sudden Cardiac Death in Sport: A Histopathologist’s Perspective, summarizes: “For the future, it is imperative that pathologists develop standardized methods, pathological criteria for (autopsy) entities, and provide clear reporting in all these cases. However, at the present moment it is essential that the heart of all young individuals dying unexpectedly is examined by an expert cardiac pathologist.”

No national standards govern autopsy in the United States, regarding procedures or personnel certifications, and that affects public record and context on sudden deaths in football.

Among the sample of 20 player fatalities omitted by the Mueller-Colgate report for 2012, the majority bore signs of cardiac arrest or heart attack, and autopsies confirmed those causes in some cases. No coroner or ME extrapolated from available information to conclude football activity was involved, according to news reports online.

But medical consensus holds that physical exertion routinely triggers heart attack and cardiac arrest, with the latter particularly deadly in athletic activities. “As someone told me, sudden cardiac arrest is not rare; surviving it is,” says Laura Friend, of Texas, whose 12-year-old daughter, Sarah, died of SCD while swimming.

“Sudden death in young athletes is often due to some congenital abnormality of the heart that is sometimes asymptomatic, making it a silent killer,” reports Dr. Leigh Vinocur, for “A majority of these cases are due to a condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). This inherited defect causes the muscular wall of the heart… to be asymmetrically or irregularly enlarged. This interferes with, or prevents, blood from flowing out of the heart when it is beating fast during exercise.”

In addition, genetic heart arrhythmias combined with athletic exertion can send the mitotic organ askew, its electric current, and produce “fast and chaotic beating of the heart” that causes cardiac arrest, notes Vincour, an ER physician in Maryland.

Fatal heart problems occurred last year for American football players ranging from young to middle-aged, with several succumbing in team settings, during game-specific sessions of practice and other training. Football’s official record-keepers missed at least two reported cases, the sudden deaths at official football workouts of Willie Mims, 43, a semipro player in Pennsylvania, and of Temoc Castellanos, 15, a prep in California.

Mims died at team practice during a hot July evening in Wilkes-Barre, collapsing while performing foot drills. A friend, Donnie Jackson-Bey, said doctors believed a pre-existing heart condition caused the death.

Last December, Castellanos, an honors student and Life Scout, collapsed while running during offseason “junior varsity football practice” at Jordan High School, reported The teen died in a hospital three days later and a “heart abnormality” was suspected, said family friend Yolanda Veronica James.

It is unclear why Mueller and Colgate do not qualify the deaths of Mims and Castellanos as football-related. Perhaps they’re committing further errors at electronic search for casualties, among NCCSIR problems documented at ChaneysBlog in recent years. Researchers at the NCCSIR do not answer questions about their method and results, at least queries from this analyst.

In other cases missing from the UNC statistics for 2012, football players died after falling stricken during personal training or physical activity in the sport’s offseason, including Matt Tautolo, 20, and Anthony Vaeao, 18, both of California, and Austin Lempera, 16, Illinois, and Thomas Allen, 17, in Alabama.

Tautolo collapsed at a campus field of Cerritos College, during a January activity alternatively described as a PE class and the “first day of football orientation” for players. He was pronounced dead within the hour, and autopsy results are unavailable online. Tautolo reportedly had heart surgery in 2008.

Vaeao died in May, as a 6-foot-3, 325-pound lineman bound for college football, after collapsing while playing basketball during a PE class at Mission Hills High School. An autopsy concluded cause of death was HCM, an enlarged heart, with obesity a contributing factor. Vaeao’s size, however, had undoubtedly attracted football recruiters, and he was signed to play for Arizona Western College.

Lempera died in November, when he fell stricken during individual exercise at home. Doctors said heart attack or cardiac arrest apparently killed Lempera, who was a slender, fit defensive lineman his football coach described as “tireless” in training for the team at Lincoln-Way Central High School.

Allen died at Lawrence County High School, of a pickup football game before Christmas break. Allen was throwing and catching a football, with his coach nearby, when he collapsed. He was pronounced died at a hospital, and preliminary exam indicated a heart attack as cause.

Football players training in the offseason died during sleep in 2012, of heart attack and cardiac malfunctions either suspected or confirmed. Mueller and Colgate do not count several cases as game casualties, such as (add links): Tanner Barton, a 6-3, 290-pound lineman for Marian University in Indiana; Cody Stephens, 18, Texas, a 6-9, 305-pound tackle recruit headed to Tarleton State University; Jalen Davis, Tennessee, a receiver and cornerback for Lebanon High School; and David Widzinski, 16, Michigan, a 6-3, 210-pound linebacker and running back for Detroit Catholic High School.

Elsewhere, New York, 14-year-old Tyler Miller died in sleep amid football season, as he both played for Barker/Royalton-Heartland High School and coached in youth football.

Additionally, football players were found unresponsive in dormitory rooms in at least two fatal cases: lineman Milton Stewart, amid his offseason training at Arkansas Baptist University, with his medical history of seizures possibly involved; and Sherrell Smith, 18, a receiver just arrived at Missouri Valley College, for preseason practice, whom a coroner determined died of diabetic ketoacidosis.

None of these deaths involved football as contributing factor, according to Mueller and Colgate.

Their 2012 report, however, does count a pair of highly similar cases as game-related: Tyrone Duplessis, 21, and Gary Tinsley, 22, both at large universities.

A heart attack killed Duplessis, a 5-8, 200-pound running back at Louisiana Tech, according to information from family members. Duplessis was training in the football offseason when he awoke from sleep and suffered the fatal event.

Tinsley was an NFL hopeful training in springtime on campus, graduating from the University of Minnesota, where he had starred at linebacker four years for the Golden Gophers. But Tinsley, 6-1, 231 pounds, died in his dormitory room because of enlarged heart, cardiomegaly, according to a medical examiner’s ruling.

Football Escapes Blame for Pulmonary Embolism in Players

Football-funded researchers are hard-pressed to associate the game with some types of blood clots that threaten or kill players, particularly involving the lungs and extremities.

A pair of tragic cases occurred in 2011, of Marcellis Williamson, 23, and Alec Mounkes, 13, with both player deaths disqualified as game-related by Mueller and Colgate for their year’s UNC report.

Williamson was an NFL hopeful in training that spring, a recent graduate of Ohio University, where he excelled in football as a noseguard at 6-1, 327 pounds. He died before the NFL draft of pulmonary thrombosis, a mobile blood clot that lodged in lung artery, according to autopsy results released by his father, Brian Perkins.

The coroner’s office found the blood clot but not its origin, which could have helped answer questions regarding a possible football link to Williamson’s death. “They took a sample to see if they could figure out where (the blood clot) came from,” Perkins told The Ohio University Post. “Without any trauma in other areas, it was hard to determine where it came from.”

Mounkes, of Kansas, was a seventh grader who sustained an ankle injury during a football game for Lyndon Middle School in October 2011. Blood clots developed and the boy was hospitalized for weeks, undergoing amputation of both legs and suffering cardiac arrest before he died of surgery complications, according to information released by the school.

Blood-clot deaths of three players in 2012 were also passed over by Mueller and Colgate, excluded from statistics for football fatalities: Rico Webb, 17, of Maryland; Ben Jordan, 16, South Carolina; and Jacob Siebert, 14, in Missouri.

Webb, a 6-7, 365-pound senior at Dematha High School in February 2012, as a line recruit for Alabama State University, was training regularly for college football when he was hospitalized for chest pains and died within hours. The cause was a pulmonary embolism, according to a medical examiner’s office.

Jordan, a 6-1, 250-pound offensive lineman for Belton-Honea Path High School, died amid a second bout with an undisclosed blood disorder that hospitalized him in successive football seasons, as a sophomore and a junior. A coroner found cause of death was a “massive” blood clot that reached the lungs.

Siebert, who played for Seckman High School near St. Louis, died during football season of a pulmonary embolism that originated in his legs. Local rumor held that Siebert was hurt at football practice the week before, but school officials said he did not report an injury to coaches. Autopsy revealed no trauma: “I don’t see a connection to any football injury,” said Dr. Mary Case, St. Louis County medical examiner.

Flag Football, '7-On-7' Drills Were Deadly in 2012

Some medical experts consulted by this reporter believe new definitions and classifications are overdue in the study of risk and casualty for American football.

The NCCSIR method at UNC restricts gathering of player deaths and non-fatal catastrophic casualties, with the latter focus confined to survivor cases of the brain, skull and spinal column. The UNC data also do not include grave football casualties among coaches, referees, and bystanders along sidelines, such as a schoolteacher and a TV reporter injured severely by impacts from helmeted football players in 2011.

In addition, UNC researchers rather arbitrarily divide the football realm to pursue cases from select activities within the tackle format only.

Questions surrounding the shaky NCCSIR methodology include:

Should deaths and critical survivor casualties of “7-on-7” drills and flag football be added to annual statistics, for the goal of constructing valid, reliable epidemiology on the American sport?

Is flag football a safe alternative for kids, instead of tackle versions?

Both 7-on-7 and flag football proved certifiably deadly in 2012, producing at least four fatalities among reports online. Two were deaths of impacts, by hits to brain and neck.

In Texas, 15-year-old Jacob Gatlin collided heads with another boy during an “athletics program” session without helmets, at Hawkins ISD High School. Gatlin, apparently an aspiring football player, later fell ill and was air-lifted to a hospital, where he died of a skull fracture and subdural hematoma. According to Hawkins ISD superintendent Dan Rose, “everyone involved with the athletic program knows the steps to follow and the protocol for (head) injuries,” reported The Big Sandy & Hawkins Journal. “The athletics class was mainly a (football) passing drill, also called 7-on-7.” In a prepared statement, Rose attributed Gatlin’s fatal injuries to “flag football.”

Flag football and “touch” football are games generally perceived as benign, practically harmless, but the action is typically fast and physical. American football without helmets and pads nevertheless inspires speed collisions that are hazardous, ranging from blocking among players without armor to passes that draw flying bodies to intersect, smash together, like in the fatal case of Jacob Gatlin.

A baseball player died of violent injuries from touch football at Richton High School in Mississippi, 2012. Alex Lott, 17, and baseball teammates were playing the game as offseason conditioning when he launched headfirst into ground and fractured his neck at the C5 vertebra, damaging the spinal cord. Emergency surgery stabilized the break but Lott’s condition deteriorated; he was placed on life support and passed away of strokes.

At least two sudden-death cases were reported in flag football last year. A 22-year-old man, publicly unidentified, collapsed during a game in Virginia and later died at a hospital. In Texas, Jason Mouton, 18, died after collapsing during intramural practice at Blinn College in Brenham. No autopsy results were posted online.

None of these fatalities qualifies as football-related for 2012, according to Mueller and Colgate at the NCCSIR.

100 Football Deaths Likely Wouldn't Sway Public, Says Yesalis

Advocates of American football recite a popular legend these days, declaring that game brutality began subsiding a century ago, after President Teddy Roosevelt “saved” the sport by making it “safer.” And advocates offer a fatality number as benchmark for football savagery, 18 collisions deaths in 1905, the likes of which are long gone, they say.

Rule changes and “proper technique” for contact, supposedly to reduce head-ramming, are saving graces for football players now, advocates claim.

A few factors render the argument faulty, however, for proclaiming the 1905 gridiron exceeded the danger of modern football, with present-day players largely immune to mortal risk.

Foremost, modern trauma surgery, antibiotic drugs and skull-preserving helmets have dramatically reduced collision deaths in football, down to an average handful in recent years. Mueller and Colgate, in likely their most accurate statistic, find an average of three to four cases annually.

A parallel domain is the U.S. military, where deaths of wounds in Afghanistan, for example, occur at a third of the rate during World War II.

Even Mueller acknowledges modern medicine has lowered direct fatalities in football. “I think that’s related to kids getting better medical care on the field,” Mueller observed in prepared statement last summer. “They’re not dying, but they’re having permanent brain damage.”

In addition, head-bashing upright at full speed was not the prime threat a century ago, but instead the plodding mobs of run-oriented football by slower, smaller players in heads covered by leather.

The sport was just beginning to incorporate forward passing, and plays from scrimmage were like rugby scrums. Most direct casualties resulted from the crushing and ripping of bodies, not the helmet blasts of hard shells today, in open field.

In fact, internal injuries led causes of death in football a century ago, not brain bleeds, according to period news reports and books, along with a contemporary collection of 1905 fatalities by blogger Tom Benjey, a mathematics PhD.

Thus modern medicine is saving a horde of players today who would have died in 1905, hundreds perhaps, for severe internal injuries and conditions largely untreatable a century ago, including cases of heatstroke, cardiac arrest, organ rupture, infection, and blood clots resulting of fractures and sprains.

An Indiana teenager is one of those contemporary survivor cases of internal injuries inflicted during football. Last week Steven Bailey, 15, was catastrophically injured in a game while running the football for Edinburgh High School.

A photo shows multiple tacklers leading with helmets and shoulders hitting Bailey, a collision that ruptured his spleen, lacerated a kidney, and punctured a lung. The life-threatening wounds were first misdiagnosed on the sideline as injured ribs, and the teen began collapsing, unable to sit or walk on crutches.

Bailey’s parents helped load him into a family vehicle and they planned to drive him to a hospital close to their home. Then Steven started screaming in pain and they took him to the nearest emergency room.

“He was pale white when we got there so doctors must have been able to tell it was internal bleeding,” said Harvey Bailey, the father. “As they were pushing the blood into his body, you could see the color coming back into his face. They said it was a good thing we got him there when we did. The decision to take him further down the road would have cost him his life.”

Harvey Bailey describes the lethal impacts on his son as “clean” and says Steven “should be able to play football next season,” reports The Indianapolis Star.

The family hopes Steven is released from the hospital this weekend.

So trauma surgery and power antibiotics save another modern football player, although he now faces long-term health consequences, prescription drug use, and medical bills.

And football advocates carry on, proclaiming mortality rate is practically negligible in a new age of safer play, from youth leagues to the NFL.

Charles Yesalis, the epidemiologist, wonders whether football fatality numbers short of a multitude mean much to the American public, anyway, and he worries for the fact untold survivor cases like Steven Bailey pass unreported, unrecorded in official game statistics.

“When you focus on those 15 deaths (in the 2012 UNC report), or 35, or 50, even a hundred in football, there’s a natural public inclination that ‘Okay, it’s only those 15 or 50 or whatever, and everybody else is fine,’ ” Yesalis says.

“No, everybody else is not fine.”

Coming this fall at ChaneysBlog: Survivors of critical injuries in American football 2012

Matt Chaney is a writer, editor, teacher and restaurant worker living in Missouri, USA. He played and coached football while completing his journalism degree at Southeast Missouri State University in 1985. As a college football player, Chaney used anabolic drugs for performance and suffered a paralyzing knee injury. Later, his thesis study for an MA degree at the University of Central Missouri was qualitative media analysis of historical print coverage of anabolic steroids and HGH in American football, based largely on electronic search among thousands of news texts from the 1970s through 1999. For more information, including about Chaney’s 2009 book, Spiral of Denial: Muscle Doping in American Football, visit the homepage at Email him at

Deaths of American Football Players in Google Reports, 2012

By Matt Chaney,

Jan. 10:  Matt Tautolo, 20, California, an aspiring player for Cerritos College, died after collapsing on an athletic field during his first day of football orientation, said head coach Frank Mazzotta. The school announced Tautolo was stricken during “physical education activity class on a campus field,” a report states. Among files in Google at time of this posting, none discussed autopsy findings by the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office, which received the case. Tautolo reportedly had open-heart surgery in 2008. Sources:, Cerritos College and Randy Economy.

Feb. 2:  Tyrone Duplessis, 21, Louisiana, a 5-8, 200-pound running back for Louisiana Tech University, died of a heart attack after waking from sleep. The day before, Duplessis attended an offseason workout for the football program. The Lincoln Parish Coroner’s Office received the case and autopsy reportedly found heart attack as cause of death. Sources: New Orleans Times-Picayune and *This case qualifies as indirectly related to American football in 2012, according to the Mueller-Colgate report at UNC.

Feb. 26: Rico Webb, 17, Maryland, a 6-7, 365-pound lineman recruit for Alabama State University, senior at Dematha High School, died of a pulmonary thromboembolism, a blood clot in lungs, according to the Office of The Chief Medical Examiner. Webb had been hospitalized hours before his death, complaining of chest pains. The teen was training regularly for college football, a friend said. Sources: Washington Post, and WUSA-TV.

March 17:  A 22-year-old male, Virginia, collapsed while playing adult flag football in Arlington. He arose, spoke briefly, and collapsed again. The man, whose name was not publicized, was pronounced dead at a local hospital. A police spokesman suggested a pre-existing medical condition contributed, reports

April 6:  Gary Tinsley, 22, Minnesota, a 6-1, 231-pound linebacker at the University of Minnesota, an aspiring pro player, died in his apartment. Cause of death was cardiomegaly, or enlarged heart, according to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office. Family and friends said Tinsley had been asymptomatic except for a mention to his mother a few months previous, when he noted experiencing headaches and chest pain during weightlifting and running. Tinsley had played four years of NCAA football for the university and was training for an opportunity with the NFL. Sources: Florida Times-Union and Minnesota Daily. *This case qualifies as indirectly related to American football in 2012, according to the Mueller-Colgate report at UNC.

April 22:  Tanner Barton, 19, Indiana, a 6-3, 290-pound lineman for Marian University, died in sleep at a friend’s house. Police said the teen consumed alcohol the night before but family members rejected alcohol as cause of death, saying they believed an undiagnosed medical condition likely contributed. At time of this posting, no report in Google discussed autopsy or toxicology results from the Howard County Coroner’s Office. Sources: Kokomo Tribune, WCPO-TV, WTHR-TV, WBIW-TV and

May 6:  Cody Stephens, 18, Texas, a 6-9, 305-pound lineman recruit for Tarleton State University, a senior at Crosby High School, died in sleep. Cause of death was sudden cardiac arrest spurred by “hypercardiomyopathy,” malfunctioning internal fibers of the heart, which was “slightly enlarged,” according to the Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office. The deceased player’s father, Scott Stevens, said a $25 electrocardiogram could have detected his son’s condition as part of a football physical. Sources: Lake Houston Observer, Highlands Star-Crosby Courier and KTRK-TV.

May 6:  Milton Stewart, 19, Arkansas, a football player for Arkansas Baptist University, was found dead in his dormitory room around noon. Police did not suspect foul play, and Stewart’s roommate said the player took medication for a “lifelong seizure ailment.” School officials said that known medical problems of Stewart, like “history of seizures,” may have contributed to the death. At time of this posting, Google search produced no report of autopsy results by the Pulaski County Coroner’s Office. Sources: KLRT-TV, KARK-TV and KTHV-TV.

May 12:  David Coleman II, 32, Ohio, a 6-1, 235-pound offensive and defensive lineman for the semipro team Jay County Panthers of Indiana, died during a game of colliding with an opponent, being struck in his chest. The Lucas County Coroner’s Office received the case and reportedly determined a burst aorta as cause of death. Fundraising helped defray expenses for the family of Coleman, who was unemployed and uninsured. Sources: Toledo Blade, WANE-TV and *This case qualifies as direct result of American football in 2012, according to the Mueller-Colgate report at UNC.

May 17:  Jacob Gatlin, 15, Texas, a student at Hawkins ISD High School, died two days after a football-related brain injury at the school. Gatlin apparently collided heads with another boy in flag football during a reported “athletics class… mainly a passing drill, also called 7-on-7.” Gatlin was removed from play then sent home when he reported a severe headache. His condition worsened, leading to ICU hospitalization, and death was of a subdural hematoma caused by a fractured skull and ruptured artery, according to the Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office. Fundraising helped offset expenses. Sources: Big Sandy & Hawkins Journal, KETK-TV, KYTX-TV and KLTV-TV.

May 17:  Anthony Vaeao, 18, California, a 6-3, 325-pound lineman recruit for Arizona Western College, died after collapsing while playing basketball in physical education class at Mission Hills High School, where he was a senior. Cause of death was cardiac hypertrophy, abnormal enlargement of the heart, with obesity as a contributing factor, according to the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office. Fundraising helped defray expenses. Sources: and XETV-TV.

June 12:  Jalen Davis, teenager, Tennessee, a receiver and cornerback for Lebanon High School, died during sleep at his home. Davis, a sophomore to-be, had been participating in summer workouts at the school for both the football and basketball programs. The Wilson County Coroner’s Office received the case, but no autopsy results were available in Google reports at time of this posting. Sources: Lebanon Democrat and WZTV-TV.

July 6:  Willie Mims, 43, Pennsylvania, a semipro defensive back and receiver, collapsed and died at an evening practice session for the Electric City Chargers in Wilkes-Barre. Mims’ teammates wondered whether heat factored into his death, according to Donnie Jackson-Bey, a teammate who said Mims was stricken while performing foot drills. Family members said doctors believed a pre-existing heart condition likely contributed to the death. No autopsy was mentioned in Google reports.

July 19:  Burke Cobb, 14, Louisiana, a 6-4, 215-pound offensive lineman for Dutchtown High School, collapsed and died after participating in a football workout and pickup basketball game at the school. The Ascension Parish Coroner’s Office received the case, and cause of death reportedly was hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Fundraising helped defray expenses. Sources: Baton Rouge Advocate, WBRZ-TV and *This case qualifies as indirectly related to American football in 2012, according to the Mueller-Colgate report at UNC.

July 23:  Nicholas Dellaventura, 15, New York, a 5-8, 210-pound offensive lineman for St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School, died after collapsing during a football conditioning session at the school. Coaches supervised the voluntary workout and players did not wear pads or helmets. Doctors believed a sudden cardiac event likely caused the death, but initial autopsy results were inconclusive, according to the Office of The Chief Medical Examiner on Staten Island. The Dellaventura family has filed a lawsuit alleging heatstroke negligence against football coaches, the school, the athletic director, and the Archdiocese of New York. Sources: Staten Island Advance, New York Post, New York Daily News, New York Times,, and *This case qualifies as indirectly related to American football in 2012, according to the Mueller-Colgate report at UNC.

Aug. 8:  Daniel Lule, 17, Illinois, a 5-9, 235-pound defensive lineman for Hall High School, died after collapsing during football practice at the school. Lule was stricken during a non-contact agility drill, and cause of death was an enlarged heart, according to the Bureau County Coroner’s Office. Sources: LaSalle News Tribune, Peoria Journal Star and Bureau County Republican. *This case qualifies as indirectly related to American football in 2012, according to the Mueller-Colgate report at UNC.

Aug. 10:  Sherrell Smith, 18, Missouri, a receiver for Missouri Valley College, was pronounced dead after being found unresponsive in his dormitory room. August football practices had just begun on campus. Cause of death was diabetic ketoacidosis, according to the Saline County Coroner’s Office. Sources: Marshall Democrat, St. Louis Post-Dispatch and KSDK-TV.

Aug. 17:  Jason Holland, 15, Georgia, an offensive lineman for Ola High School, was stricken by a medical condition at his home, following an afternoon football practice, and died two days later. The Henry County Coroner’s Office received the case, and cause of death was reportedly of a heart attack caused by narrowing of arteries. Sources: WSB-TV, Henry Daily Herald and Atlanta Journal-Constitution. *This case qualifies as indirectly related to American football in 2012, according to the Mueller-Colgate report at UNC.

Aug. 21:  Dana Payne, 15, Tennessee, a 5-11, 143-pound receiver and defensive back for Millington High School, died following a tackle by another player in football practice at the school. Payne caught a pass and was struck in his torso, rendering him unable to stand again. Payne experienced breathing difficulties then lost consciousness. Cause of death was an attack of bronchial asthma with torso impact a likely contributor, according to the Shelby County Medical Examiner’s Office. Source: Memphis Commercial Appeal. *This case qualifies as indirectly related to American football in 2012, according to the Mueller-Colgate report at UNC.

Aug. 28:  Jonathan Vasiliou, 16, New York, a lineman for Queensbury High School, became ill, exhibiting symptoms of severe infection, about 36 hours following a football scrimmage. He died the next day in a hospital. Doctors ruled out many types of contagious infections as a possible cause, and no autopsy was performed. Sources: Albany Times Union, Glen Falls Post Star and Saratoga Saratogian. *This case qualifies as indirectly related to American football in 2012, according to the Mueller-Colgate report at UNC.

Sept. 6:  Ben Jordan, 16, South Carolina, a 6-1, 260-pound offensive guard for Belton-Honea Path High School, died of a blood clot that reached lungs, according to the Greenville County Coroner’s Office. Jordan was initially stricken by blood clots during football practice in summer 2011, sidelining him for that game season. He was cleared to return to football for spring drills in 2012 but suffered more dangerous clotting during August football camp, hospitalizing him prior to his team’s opening game. Sources: Anderson Independent Mail, and WGOG-Radio.

Sept. 29:  Tyler Miller, 14, New York, a football player for Barker/Royalton-Hartland High School, died during sleep at his home. Miller also coached youth football. Initial autopsy results were inconclusive, and further analysis examined possibility of an undetected heart defect or other illness. Sources: Lockport Union-Sun & Journal, WGRZ-TV and WIVB-TV.

Oct. 5:  Ronald Rouse, 18, South Carolina, a 6-4, 320-pound lineman for Hartsville High School, died after collapsing during a game. Cause of death was sudden cardiac arrhythmia spurred by a congenitally enlarged heart, according to the Darlington County Coroner’s Office. Fundraising helped defray expenses. Sources: Florence Morning News, The Sporting News, WCSC-TV and The Associated Press. *This case qualifies as indirectly related to American football in 2012, according to the Mueller-Colgate report at UNC.

Oct. 7:  Jesse Watlington, 11, Florida, a middle-school football player for Southwest Florida Christian Academy, died four days after being struck by lightning during football practice at the school. Watlington was comatose in an ICU before being removed from life support. Fundraising helped defray expenses. The Watlington family has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against McGregor Baptist Church, which hosts the school. Sources: Tampa Bay Times, WFTX-TV, WINK-TV and WZVN-TV. *This case qualifies as indirectly related to American football in 2012, according to the Mueller-Colgate report at UNC.

Oct. 9:  Jason Mouton, 18, Texas, a student at Blinn Junior College, died after collapsing during flag-football practice for his intramural team on campus. No autopsy results were available at time of this posting, but a previously undiagnosed heart condition may have contributed to the death. Fundraising helped defray expenses. Sources: Kingwood Observer, Houston Chronicle, KBTX-TV and Summer Creek High School.

Oct. 17:  JheVontae Davis, 14, Virginia, a fullback and defensive tackle for Oscar Smith High School, died after collapsing during a practice session. The state Office of Chief Medical Examiner received the case, but no autopsy results were available at time of this posting. Family members of Davis said he complained of chest pain before collapsing on the football field and that an asthma attack likely contributed to the death. Fundraising helped defray expenses. Sources: Virginian-Pilot and WAVY-TV. *This case qualifies as indirectly related to American football in 2012, according to the Mueller-Colgate report at UNC.

Oct. 21:  John Bloomfield, 22, California, a 6-1, 245-pound defensive end for Sacramento State University, died of complications that began with a lung injury sustained during a game on Aug. 30. After an initial hospitalization, Bloomfield’s condition deteriorated and he was readmitted on Sept. 19 for a collapsed lung, undergoing multiple surgeries. Problems developed, such as internal bleeding, and Bloomfield lapsed into a coma. He eventually was removed from life support. No autopsy was mentioned in available reports. Fundraising helped defray expenses. Sources: Sacramento Bee, Sacramento State Hornet and *This case qualifies as indirectly related to American football in 2012, according to the Mueller-Colgate report at UNC.

Oct. 21:  Charles, Melillo, 27, New York, a semipro football player for the Westchester Vengeance, died at home while awaiting scheduled surgery for neck fractures sustained during a game on Sept. 22. Melillo also suffered a severe concussion in that football collision. No autopsy was mentioned in reports available online. Fundraising help defray expenses. Sources:,, and Port Chester Daily Voice. *This case qualifies as direct result of American football in 2012, according to the Mueller-Colgate report at UNC.

Oct. 24:  Jacob Siebert, 14, Missouri, a running back for Seckman High School, died in hospital of a blood clot that moved from his legs to the lungs, according to the St. Louis County Medical Examiner’s Office. Siebert had participated in football activity four or five days prior to death, apparently, and reports of his sustaining an injury circulated locally. Autopsy, meanwhile, found no link to a football injury. Sources: St. Louis Post-Dispatch,, KTVI-TV and KSDK-TV.

Nov. 4:  Alex Lott, 17, Mississippi, a baseball player for Richton High School, died two days after suffering a broken neck in a pickup game of football at the school. Lott and his baseball teammates were playing touch football for offseason conditioning when he fell headfirst and fractured the C5 vertebra. Lott immediately underwent surgery then, the next day, he suffered cerebral strokes. Sources: WDAM-TV, Hattiesburg American and Jackson Clarion-Ledger.

Nov. 7:  William Wayne Jones III, 19, Tennessee, a 5-11, 175-pound defensive back for Tennessee State University, died after collapsing during a practice session on campus without pads and helmets. The Davidson County Medical Examiner’s Office received the case but no autopsy results appeared in Google reports at time of this posting. Jones’ parents are suing the university, alleging coaches did not diligently tend to Jones after his collapse, which occurred a few minutes past 4 p.m., witnesses say. The first 911 call for Jones was logged about 4:35 p.m. and he arrived at hospital by ambulance about 5 p.m., according to a timeline of events. Sources: WSMV-TV, WKRN-TV and Nashville City Paper. *This case qualifies as indirectly related to American football in 2012, according to the Mueller-Colgate report at UNC.

Nov. 19:  Austin Lempera, 16, Illinois, an offensive lineman for Lincoln-Way Central High School, collapsed and died while exercising at home. An attending physician said cardiac arrhythmia possibly contributed in the death. The Will County Coroner’s Office received the case, but no autopsy details were available in Google reports at time of this posting. Sources: Joliet Herald-News,, and KTBC-TV.

Dec. 3:  David Widzinski, 16, Michigan, a 6-3, 210-pound linebacker and running back for Detroit Catholic Central High School, died during sleep at his home. Heart malfunction triggered the death, an arrhythmia of unknown origin, according to the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office. Sources:, Oakland Press and

Dec. 14:  Temoc Castellanos, 15, California, a lineman for Jordan High School, died three days after collapsing on the school running track during offseason football training. No autopsy is mentioned in online reports, but a previously undiagnosed heart defect might have contributed. Sources: and

Dec. 18:  Thomas Allen, 17, Alabama, a football player for Lawrence County High School, died after collapsing while throwing and catching a football at the school. Cause of death was a heart attack, according to preliminary exam by the Lawrence County Coroner’s Office, with autopsy pending at a state forensics lab. No further information was available in online reports at time of this posting. Fundraising helped defray expenses. Sources: Decatur Daily, WAAY-TV and WAFF-TV.

Matt Chaney is a writer, editor, teacher and restaurant worker living in Missouri, USA. He earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism at Southeast Missouri State University in 1985, where he played football and coached as a student assistant. His 2001 graduate thesis study for an MA degree at the University of Central Missouri was qualitative media analysis of 466 football reports, historical print coverage of anabolic steroids and HGH in American football, based on electronic search among thousands of news texts from the 1970s through 1999. For more information, including contact numbers and Chaney’s 2009 book, Spiral of Denial: Muscle Doping in American Football, visit his homepage at

Three bouts added to complete WSOF card in Atlantic City

LAS VEGAS - A trio of contests have been added to September's "World Series of Fighting 5: Arlovski vs. Kyle" lineup, as Rick "The Gladiator" Glenn (13-2-1) meets Artur Rofi (6-0), Ozzy Dugulubgov (4-1) faces Andrew "Ozzy" Osbourne (7-5) and Sidemar "Sideco" Honorio (8-3) takes on Jimmie "El Terror" Rivera (12-1).

With the additions to the evening's preliminary fight card, the World Series of Fighting 5 lineup now includes 10 total fights.

The night's NBC Sports Network-televised main card also includes previously announced middleweight tournament bouts of David Branch (12-3) vs. Danillo "Indio" Villefort (14-4) and Elvis "The King" Mutapcic (13-2) vs. Jesse "JT Money" Taylor, as well as a heavyweight matchup of Rolles Gracie (8-1) vs. Derrick "Caveman" Mehmen (15-5) and a featherweight contest between Georgi Karakhanyan (21-3-1) and Waylon Lowe (14-4).

An Iowa native, featherweight Glenn now lives in Wisconsin, where he's a part of Milwaukee's famed Roufusport MMA Academy. Training since he was a teenager, the 24-year-old prospect opened his career at just 3-2 but has since gone 11 straight fights without a loss. Glenn made his World Series of Fighting debut in March, where he earned a third-round knockout over Alexandre Pimentel.

Glenn now meets New Jersey's own Rofi, a Team Bittencourt fighter who has earned all six of his career wins by way of stoppage. After opening his career in October 2010 with a knockout win, Rofi has since tapped out five consecutive opponents.

The Russian-born Dugulubgov, now a resident of Hackensack, N.J., fights for a second time under the World Series of Fighting banner. The 24-year-old Renzo Gracie-trained fighter debuted for the promotion in March, earning a unanimous-decision win over Chris Wade.

Dugulubgov faces North Carolina's Osbourne, who fights out of Angel's Gym in Fayetteville, in a 160-pound catchweight contest. Fighting professionally since April 2011, Osbourne is 4-1 in his past five contests, with the lone loss in that stretch coming to former Ring of Combat champion Ryan LaFlare.

Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazilian bantamweight Honorio trains at Renzo Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. After opening his career with seven wins in his first eight appearances, Honorio has struggled in recent bouts with top prospects Aljamain Sterling and Sean Santella but is poised to make a statement against a tough Rivera, who brings an impressive 11-fight win streak to the contest.

Rivera, a Team Tiger Schulmann fighter, hasn't tasted defeat since 2008. In fact, before turning pro, Rivera compiled an amateur record of 7-0, giving him an incredible 19-1 career mark at all levels of competition. Along the way, Rivera picked up 135-pound belts for highly respected regional promotions King of the Cage and Ring of Combat.

World Series of Fighting 5's two-and-a-half-hour NBC Sports Network telecast airs live at 9:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. PT. The five-bout preliminary card, which also includes previously announced matchups of Gregor Gracie (7-3) vs. Rich Patishnock (5-1) and Neiman Gracie (0-0) vs. Darren Costa (0-1) streams on World Series of Fighting's official website,, beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT.

Eagles Radiothon set for WIP

The Philadelphia Eagles and SportsRadio 94WIP have announced that the annual Eagles Radiothon will hit airwaves starting at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 3 and will close on Wednesday, Sept. 4 at 6 p.m.

Through this two-day auction, fans will be able to bid on unique sports and entertainment prizes involving their favorite Eagles players and SportsRadio 94WIP radio personalities. All proceeds will benefit Eagles Youth Partnership and its various programs that serve over 50,000 children in our community every year.

“The Eagles Radiothon is one of our most anticipated events of the year,” said Eagles Youth Partnership Executive Director, Sarah Martinez-Helfman. “This is a special fundraiser because so many win. Bidders win experiences of a lifetime with their favorite Eagles players and WIP personalities. Listeners get great radio over those two days. And kids who are struggling against the odds get eyeglasses, books and playgrounds from the money we raise. I want to thank SportsRadio 94WIP for so generously hosting the Eagles Radiothon over the years. We thank them, our fans and the entire Philadelphia community for the support.”

Starting at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 3, fans will be able to call into SportsRadio 94WIP and place bids on a variety of sports and entertainment prizes through the station’s phone banks. Bidding closes at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 4. The auction hotline to call is 888-729-9494. Participating shows include Angelo Cataldi & The Morning Team (5:30 a.m. – 10 a.m.), Michael Barkann and Ike Reese (10 a.m. – 1 p.m.), Anthony Gargano and Glen Macnow (1 p.m. – 6 p.m.).

“This longstanding partnership between SportsRadio 94WIP and the Philadelphia Eagles has benefited both sides greatly over the years,” said Senior Vice President/Market Manager CBS Radio Philadelphia, Marc Rayfield. “We recognize that Eagles Youth Partnership is out in our communities, schools and neighborhoods making a significant impact on our city’s youth through its various health and education programs. At 94WIP, we want to leverage this annual event as an opportunity to contribute to EYP’s steadfast mission.”

Some of the highlighted prizes include: traveling to the Eagles/Packers game at Lambeau Field on Nov. 10; serving as Coach Chip Kelly’s assistant for a regular season practice; attending a Phillies game with Michael Vick in a suite; fishing in Long Beach Island with Todd Herremans and Lane Johnson; behind-the-scenes experience with during the Eagles/Chiefs game on Sept. 19 when Donovan McNabb’s No. 5 is retired; tickets to the Eagles/Redskins game on Nov. 19 with access to the 94WIP pregame show and a visit with Merrill Reese and Mike Quick in the broadcast booth at halftime; two tickets to Super Bowl XLVII in New York on Feb. 3.

To pre-register, review the full prize list and for further information on the Eagles Radiothon, please visit or call 215-463-2500.

Monday, August 26, 2013

John McMullen talks NFL Preseason News on TSN690

Eagles cut Phillips, Chaney

PHILADELPHIA - In the end the Eagles just couldn't count on Kenny Phillips' health.

Despite serious question marks at the safety position, the Eagles cut the veteran playmaker on Sunday, a nod to his inability to stay on the field.

Phillips, who started 41 games for the Giants from 2008 to 2012 and was a member of the team which won Super Bowl XLVI, has been hampered by chronic knee injuries for years and misses the last two Eagles preseason games with a quadriceps problem.

Free agent signee Patrick Chung and the embattled Nate Allen remain the team's starters at safety right now with Kurt Coleman, rookie Earl Wolff and special teams standout Colt Anderson providing the depth. Three-year veteran David Sims remains a long-shot to make the final 53-man roster.

The Eagles also released veteran linebacker Jamar Chaney, a former seventh-round pick of the Andy Reid regime in 2010. The Mississippi State product played in 44 games (23 starts) over three seasons with Philadelphia, recording 158 tackles, one sack and three interceptions.

Earlier in the day, the team released the following 10 players: TE Derek Carrier, DE Eddie McClam, WR Nick Miller, OT Nic Purcell, DE/OL Isaac Remington, TE Will Shaw, DT Daryell Walker, CB Eddie Whitley (waived/injured), LS James Winchester and P Brad Wing.

Union routed by Revs

Foxborough, Mass. – The Philadelphia Union (10-8-8) fell to the New England Revolution, 5-1 Sunday night at Gillette Stadium in the third game of the season between the two sides. The Union now return home to PPL Park for an Eastern Conference matchup vs. Montreal Impact next Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET, broadcast on Comcast SportsNet.

After an equalizing goal from Danny Cruz in the second half made the score 1-1, the Union seemed to take a 2-1 lead on a goal from Conor Casey just minutes later, but a questionable call from the referee appeared to judge New England goalkeeper Matt Reis to have possession before Casey got a foot to it. The Revolution then rallied for four second-half goals to give the Eastern Conference side three points on the night.

“I think there are some plays made early in that second half and we felt like we did all the right things coming out of the locker room at halftime and had the moment and get the equalizer and then we felt like we got the go-ahead goal,” Team Manager John Hackworth said after the match. “And for whatever reason, the officials felt otherwise. It’s incredibly hard to take that part of it, because it changes so much.”

The Revolution opened up the scoring for the game in the 26th minute, as midfielder Kelyn Rowe found space outside the 18 and fired a low, hard shot from distance. The shot flew into the upper corner of MacMath’s net to give New England the lead.

After the break, the Union came out firing and eventually were rewarded in the 50th minute, as Casey slid a ball in behind the defense to Cruz, who took one touch and eluded Reis towards the corner. Once clear of the New England keeper, Cruz fired a shot into an empty net from a tight angle, giving the Union the tying goal.

The Union continued to attack for another, but the apparent go-ahead goal from Casey was called back just minutes after the equalizer. The striker pounced on a loose ball inside the box to poke it into the net, but a whistled from the referee seemed to rule that Reis had possession, as the goalkeeper was on the ground near the ball.

From there, the Revolution  found a rhythm and scored four unanswered goals, as a Union own goal and others from Rowe, Fagundez and Agudelo gave the Revolution a lopsided victory on the night. It was the Revolution’s second win at home this year in which they score five goals, previously defeating defending MLS champions LA Galaxy by a 5-0 score line.

“A loss is a loss. At the end of the day, that’s not what we came up here to do,” Hackworth said. “We have to keep it in perspective and do what we do every game. Win, lose or draw, we’ll go back and look at the video and try to make a lot of corrections and get ready for next week.”

As the Union look ahead, another important Eastern Conference match is set for next week against Montreal Impact (7:30 p.m. ET, CSN), who currently are first in Eastern Conference standings. Despite the loss, Philadelphia remains in playoff contention as they sit in fourth place in the East.

“Sometimes results like this are a big wake-up call and you can react one of two ways. You can let it get you down or you can stay strong, stay together, fight harder and do well for the rest of the team,” team captain Brian Carroll said. “We have to find the way to do the latter part.”

New England Revolution 5, Philadelphia Union 1
Saturday, Aug. 25; 7:30 p.m. ET
Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass.

NE: Rowe (Barrett) 26’
PHI: Cruz (Casey) 50’
NE: Okugo (own goal) 58’
NE: Rowe (Imbongo) 65’
NE: Fagundez (Caldwell) 71’
NE: Agudelo (Imbongo) 73’

PHI: Lahoud (caution) 37’
PHI: Okugo (caution) 75’
PHI: Williams (caution) 78’
PHI: Casey (caution) 81’
PHI: Okugo (second yellow) 91’

MacMath, Fabinho, Parke, Okugo, Williams, Carroll, Farfan (Hoppenot 80’), Daniel (Lahoud 27’), Cruz (McInerney 76’), Le Toux, Casey.

Substitutes not used: Nikolov, Kassel, Kleberson, Wheeler.

Reis, Farrell, Soares, Goncalves, Tierney, Rowe, Fagundez, Caldwell, Nguyen (Dorman 73’), Barrett (Imbongo 56’), Agudelo (Davies 81’).

Substitutions: Shuttleworth, McCarthy, Alston, Guy.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

EFC Warrior set for Trump Taj Mahal tonight

The EFC: WARRIOR MMA Event is set for the Grand Ballroom at Trump Taj Mahal Casino Hotel in Atlantic City tonight.

"We have our first female main event, which is the rematch of a sensational fight," said event co-promoter Hani Darwish when talking about the card. "Plus we have two other title fights between some of the most popular fighters in Jersey. The entire card is strong top to bottom and the fans have acknowledged it by supporting the young fighters in this event."

Darwish says he's happy to be working with the Taj Mahal to build this successful MMA series.

"The Trump with their slot specials for ticket buyers and their overall professionalism to work with has been wonderful. It truly is a perfect situation to be in as a promoter and I'm very grateful. I'm looking forward to another unforgettable event this Saturday.

EFC WARRIOR will feature in its main event Maryland MMA fighter Roya Darvishian (5-2) taking on Whippany, New Jersey's Jen Lopez (4-1) EFC Women's Bantamweight Championship in the featured bout, as well as two more title fights, as Gabriel Ruiz (3-2) of the EFC Fight Club in Woodland Park, NJ will face Jovany Alvarez (4-2) from Modern Martial Arts in Englishtown, NJ, for the EFC Featherweight Championship; and the always exciting Barat Jan (3-0) of Eagle Martial Arts in Boonton, NJ, will take on Victor Romero (3-3) of Modern Martial Arts in Englishtown, NJ, for the EFC Middleweight Championship.
Twelve other exciting bouts are also on the schedule for tonight.



Welterweight (over 140 to 147 lbs.)
Anthony Verdesco from Lionheart Modern Martial Arts in South Amboy, New Jersey will fight Brandon Browne of Modern Martial Arts in Englishtown, New Jersey

Lightweight (over 130 to 135 lbs.)
Kevin Gocklin of the Ironbound Fight Club in Newark, New Jersey will face Adam Sylvester (1-1) Rosky Combat Sports Training Center in Rahway, New Jersey

Lightweight (over 130 to 135 lbs.)
Will Dodd of EFC Fight Club in Woodland Park, New Jersey will take on Damon Bonner (0-3) of Millville, New Jersey

Middleweight (over 154 to 161 lbs.)
Nick Manela (1-0) from Ricardo Almeida Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy in Robbinsville, New Jersey, will battle Nile Dillon (0-2) of Sparta NJ Mixed Martial Arts in Lafayette, New Jersey

Super Welterweight (over 147 to 154 lbs.)
Tyreek Jacobs (1-0) of EFC Fight Club in Woodland Park, New Jersey will take on Raeph Koch of Camp Sao Lak in Kenilworth, New Jersey

Welterweight (over 140 to 147 lbs.)
Justin Hinds (0-1) Kurt Pellegrino's Mixed Martial Arts & Fitness Academy in Belmar, New Jersey will go against Charles Argilan (1-0) Worthington Martial Arts

EFC Featherweight Championship (over 122 to 126 lbs.)
Gabriel Ruiz (3-2) of EFC Fight Club in Woodland Park, New Jersey will face Jovany Alvarez (4-2) of Modern Martial Arts in Englishtown, New Jersey

Welterweight (over 140 to 147 lbs.)
Rodrigo Correa of the Ironbound Fight Club in Newark, New Jersey, will make his debut against Matt Firneno (1-0) of Nick Catone's Mixed Martial Arts Academy in Brick, New Jersey/RJ BJJ

Light Heavyweight (over 168 to 175 lbs.)
Nicholas Kracsun (2-1) from Lionheart Modern Martial Arts in South Amboy, New Jersey will face Andres Velasques (1-0) of Pure Mixed Martial Arts in Denville, New Jersey

Light Heavyweight (over 168 to 175 lbs.)
John Monaco of Blue Line Defense and Fitness in Ewing, New Jersey, will battle Andy Segovia of Tiger Schulmann's Kickboxing and Mixed Martial Arts in Cherry Hill, New Jersey

Super Welterweight (over 147 to 154 lbs.)
Tim Dooling (2 -1) of Blue Line Defense and Fitness in Ewing, New Jersey, will battle   Nate Fultz of Nick Catone's Mixed Martial Arts Academy in Brick, New Jersey/RJ BJJ

Junior Heavyweight (over 197 to 210 lbs.)
Tim Lutke (1-0) of AllStar BJJ/MMA in Kenilworth, New Jersey, will face Mike Forte (2-1) from Alex Wilkie's Martial Arts Academy, in Bridgewater, New Jersey

Super Lightweight (over 135 to 140 lbs.)
Robert Wallin (2-0) of Carmine Zocchi Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy of Queens, New York will go against Ricky Bandejas (6-1) of Nick Catone's Mixed Martial Arts Academy in Brick, New Jersey/RJ BJJ

EFC Middleweight Championship (over 154 to 161 lbs.)
Barat Jan (3-0) of Eagle Martial Arts in Boonton, New Jersey, will take on Victor Romero (3-3) of Modern Martial Arts in Englishtown, New Jersey
EFC Bantamweight Championship (over 112 to 118 lbs.)
Jennifer Lopez (4-1) of AMA Fight Club of Whippany, New Jersey, will rematch against Roya Darvishian (5-2) of Lloyd Irvin's Martial Arts Academy in Camp Springs, Maryland

All bouts subject to change.

Temple's Brown takes shot at wrestling stardom

Morkeith Brown
By John McMullen

PHILADELPHIA (The Phan) - Former Temple star Morkeith Brown turned down another shot at the NFL in favor of trying his hand at professional wrestling.

The tight end turned defensive end on North Broad Street said no to a training camp invite from the
Tampa Bay Buccaneers to sign a developmental deal with World Wrestling Entertainment.

The 6-foot-5, 255-pound Brown has always carved his own path. He joined the Army out of high school and was deployed to Afghanistan for 14 months in 2005-2006 before enrolling at Temple in 2007.

Brown, 28, started all 13 games at defensive end during his senior year with the Owls and was a team captain. Since leaving college Brown has attended training camp with the Bucs and played one season for the Philadelphia Soul of the AFL.

Brown will start his new career at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, a 26,000 square-foot training center modeled after a high-level NFL training facility.

Professional wrestling has a long history of plucking stars from the world of football dating back to the 1930s when Hall of Famer Bronko Nagurski was recognized as world heavyweight champion.

Ernie "The Big Cat" Ladd was a huge AFL star for the Chargers, Chiefs and Oilers, and was an even bigger name in wrestling, often headlining against Andre "The Giant" Roussimoff.

Andre once won a battle royal at Wrestlemania II in 1986 which featured NFL stars like Jimbo Covert, Bill Fralic, Ernie Holmes, Harvey Martin, William "The Refrigerator" Perry and Russ Francis, the former All-Pro tight end with the New England Patriots who was a grappling star in his home state of Hawaii where his dad Ed was a promoter.

The two iconic defensive stars of the 1980s and early '90s, Lawrence Taylor and Reggie White, also dipped their toes into the world of "sports entertainment." L.T. was in the main event of WrestleMania XI against Scott "Bam Bam" Bigelow, and White wrestled one match against former Chicago Bears standout Steve McMichael.

Others football players found far more success in wrestling after flaming out in football. Ed "Wahoo" McDaniel was a fan favorite with the New York Jets in the 1960s before becoming a main-eventer in pro wrestling. Bill Goldberg had a short stint with the Falcons before turning into World Championship Wrestling's top star during their war with WWE.

Jim Duggan, Larry "Lex Luger" Pfohl, Paul Orndorff, Ron Simmons and Leon "Vader" White also tried the professional ranks in football before turning to wrestling and becoming main event-caliber stars.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, who has headlined the two biggest grossing shows in pro wrestling history and is perhaps Hollywood's biggest box office draw right now, was a defensive tackle at the University of Miami and had a brief stint north of the border with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League before turning into the "most electrifying man in sports entertainment."

Other current WWE superstars with backgrounds in football include Johnson's main foil, former WWE champion John Cena, who was a first-team Division III All- American center at Springfield College in 1998, and tag team kingpin Joe "Roman Reigns" Anoi'a, who was a first-team All-ACC defensive tackle at Georgia Tech before being signed as an undrafted free agent by the Minnesota Vikings in 2007.

A football backgroud doesn't guarantee sucess, however. Despite glowing reviews from some, Nick McNeil, a three-time All-Southern Conference selection at Western Carolina who had a cup of coffee with the Redskins in 2005 and was wrestling under the name Percy Watson, was released by WWE back in May.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Eagles trade Felix Jones to Steelers

PHILADELPHIA -  Adrian Robinson used to call North Broad Street home. Now, the former Temple linebacker is heading to South Broad after being acquired by the Eagles from the Pittsburgh Steelers for running back Felix Jones.

The move makes sense.

Jones was buried on Philadelphia's depth chart behind Shady McCoy, Bryce Brown and Chis Polk while running back became a need in Pittsburgh after rookie Le'Veon Bell went down with a foot injury in the preseason. Meanwhile, the Eagles desperately need depth at linebacker.

Jones, 26, has rushed for 2,728 career rushing yards and 11 touchdowns with 127 career receptions for 1,076 yards and three touchdowns, all with the Dallas Cowboys. Last season, the Arkansas product rushed for 402 yards and three touchdowns and caught 25 passes for 262 yards and two touchdowns.

Jones showed little juice in training camp with the Eagles, however.

Robinson, 6-foot-1, 250 pounds,  appeared in 12 games for the Steelers last season and recorded four  tackles in limited action.

Patience is Jets' only option with Holmes

Extra Points: Patience is Jets' only option with Holmes - Football Wires -

PHILADELPHIA  -  The  New  York Jets  desperately  need Santonio  Holmes but  veteran players  don't  really need  training camp,  and that's the stalemate "Gang Green" finds itself in with the enigmatic receiver.

Holmes  is 11  months out  from the  Lisfranc injury  which derailed  his 2012
season and the doctor who treated him believes Santonio could be practicing if
that was the kind of thing that interested him.

Dr.  Robert Anderson  has cleared  the Ohio  State product  to begin  football
activities, according to the New York Post.

Holmes,  however, has continued to balk over his potential return leaving many
inside  the  Jets organization speculating  that Holmes wants to avoid tedious
training camp and preseason practices at all costs.

"I  never had one from the start," Holmes said when discussing the target date
for  his return. "Coming  off of injury, the first time, just letting the foot
heal up and see where we can go from there."

Holmes  even  informed reporters  last week  that he hadn't  begun to run yet.
Unfortunately  for him,  though, everyone has cell phones these days and video
shot  by a  fan in the stands  at SUNY Cortland caught the wide receiver doing
exactly that on the sidelines.

That  was  followed by  a Saturday  night appearance  where Holmes was running
pretty  well and caught  a few passes from rookie Geno Smith in warmups before
the Jets' preseason win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

"I  probably ran two routes, which were the two passes that I caught from Geno
on  the  deep-side, but  everything  else  was walk,  catch  the  ball on  the
sideline,"  Holmes said  while making sure to let everyone know his foot feels
good  on some days, but  not so great on others -- sort of like the rest of us
who haven't been able to visit the Dr. Scholl's FootMapping Center recently.

"It wasn't really full-go. It wasn't planting and cutting the way I would like
to, so at this point, it's only making strides forward.

"This pain won't go away."

Fair  enough but  let me put the Jets'  concerns to rest ... that pain will go
away  by the  first week of September and Holmes will proclaim himself healthy
and ready to go for Week 1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers..

Allen  Iverson may be the only sports star dumb enough to proclaim his disdain
for  practice in  a forum so public.  His famous rant will live on forever but
rest  assured  the thoughts behind The  Answer's complaints are shared by many
established players.

Yeah, it's selfish but it's also reality.

Some  hate practice  more than  others  of course  and Holmes  is evidently  a
charter  member  of the Percy Harvin  fan club, probably expending more energy
devising ways to get out of practice than he would if he just sucked it up for
a few hours.

Heck,  Holmes even  took  it up  a  notch  while going  to  the third  person,
proclaiming that if he cant reach "a Santonio Holmes level of competition," he
may never return.

"We  have 16 weeks  of football. At any point, I could be ready to play and if
not I'd be willing to accept it."

That  kind  of doom and  gloom talk  set off alarm  bells but before Jets fans
commit to a ledge, understand Holmes has 358 career receptions under his belt,
a  Super Bowl MVP award and the knowledge that the team's starting wideouts in
his absence are Stephen Hill and Jeremy Kerley.

When  Holmes  wants to come back  -- and he  has about $7.5 million reasons to
want to come back -- he will be welcomed with open arms and he knows it.

So why not extend the rehabilitation for a few more weeks?

After all, we're talkin' about practice ... not a game ... practice.