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Pro Sports Teams Protest Jacob Blake’s Shooting

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Jacob Blake is an African-American man who was shot by the police on August 23, 2020, at Kenosha, Wisconsin, as a response to a domestic violence incident call from 911. Police used tasers and shot seven bullets, 4 of which hit Blake, despite not having clear evidence of Blake being violent or refusing to cooperate with the officers. This encounter resulted in Blake being paralyzed from the waist down. Several riots and protests have ensued for the alleged injustice against Blake.

Taking a Stand

Because of this incident, the pro-sports team has taken a stand to show support for Blake on this grave injustice. This was led by the Milwaukee Buck’s refusal to play during a match-off against Orlando Magic to protest Blake’s shooting. Pro-tennis player Naomi Osaka also decided to sit out the semi-final match at the Western Southern Opera to protest this horrendous crime.

According to an interview with Osaka, she emphasized that she is a Black woman first before being an athlete, and to support her community. She decided to sit out on the match as a form of protest.

Following Suit

Other NBA games also quickly followed suit, with the majority of the NBA games being rescheduled. Among them are Bucks versus Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets, the Portland Trail Blazers, and the LA Lakers. The Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds also decided to delay their games. 

The Women’s National Basketball Association also showed support for their brothers in the NBA by rescheduling three matches. In an interview with Elizabeth Williams, a player from Atlanta’s dreams, she reiterated the need to support each other through these terrible times.

The Soccer industry also protested and showed support for Blake by postponing five matches. In a show of solidarity, two teams, Inter Miami and Atlanta United locked arms with each other and refused to play. 

Why the Bucks Wouldn’t Buckle

For the Bucks, the decision to show their protest against the shooting of Blake was easy. When it was time for them to play, the team was still in the locker room and refused to budge, even if they were leading the playoffs with a 3-1 score.

In an interview with Buck’s players, they mentioned that they want to change and have been demanding change in the past, but could not see any action for change from the government. They even cited that people expect the best of them whenever they play in the basketball court as they represent their respective teams. However, the same cannot be said to the government who play blame games.

The team owners also shared the team’s sentiment even if they were not informed about this beforehand. NBA superstar, Lebron James, also tweeted his support after Buck’s protest, saying, “F–K THIS MAN!!!! WE DEMAND CHANGE. SICK OF IT”. 

Sterling Brown, the Bucks’ shooting guard, also shared his story with his encounter with the Milwaukee officers when he parked in a handicapped spot back in 2018. The officer used a stun gun to calm Brown down and even stepped on his ankle! The video also showed how the police officers discussed what would happen if they arrested an NBA player and can be heard singing the lyrics of O’Jays song “For the Love of Money.”

With all the pieces of evidence springing up about racial injustice, it boils down to respect—respecting anyone regardless of their race, gender, and color. 

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COVID-19 Study: Screen Recovering Athletes Heart for Inflammation before Allowing Them to Play

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Recent research asserts that doctors need to make sure that athletes who previously contracted COVID-19 are cleared from any kind of heart inflammation before they are allowed to play. This suggested protocol, the athletes COVID-19 study says, helps ensure the safety of the athletes as they get back to doing strenuous physical activities.

New Athletes COVID-19 Study Detects Myocarditis

Done by researchers of Ohio State University, the new study discovered that conducted 4 cardiac MRIs (magnetic resonance images) among 26 of the university’s roster of athletes recovering from the said coronavirus disease showed myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart causing its reduced ability to pump blood effectively.

In a letter published in the JAMA Cardiology journal, the said researchers stressed the importance of ensuring athletes heart health before providing them the permission to return to their games.   “Our objective was to investigate the use of cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging in competitive athletes recovered from COVID-19 to detect myocardial inflammation that would identify high-risk athletes for return to competitive play,” they assert.

MRI tests were done on the athletes at the university’s sports medicine clinic after discovering that they tested positive for COVID-19 between June and August. The said athletes specialized in various sports including basketball, football, lacrosse, soccer, and track. All of them did not display severe symptoms that necessitated hospitalization.

Examined Athletes Have Myocarditis

While more than half of them were asymptomatic, exhibiting no visible symptoms of the coronavirus disease, 12 of them mentioned that they experienced mild symptoms such as shortness of breath, sore throat, and fever. Cardiac MRI was done on them after at least 11 days of quarantine period.

Imaging results manifested that 4 or 15% of the athletes had myocarditis while 8 or 30.8% showed prior myocardial condition. The said study does not clearly mention whether the said injury is temporary or permanent.

The researchers report that such myocardial injury must be taken into account when deciding to allow athletes to return to their games. Cardiac MRIs help determine when it is safe to return to physical activities and how to prevent the games’ corresponding adverse effects especially on those currently displaying the said injury. “CMR may provide an excellent risk stratification assessment for myocarditis in athletes who have recovered from COVID-19 to guide safe competitive sports participation,” the researchers add.

More Research Needed

Although this new athletes COVID-19 study suggests this MRI protocol, more research is necessary. Determining whether or not this condition emerges on a number of other athletes across the different colleges and universities is essential.

This summer, Ohio State joined the Big Ten conference that announced postponement of all fall sports participation. Similarly, the said university was among the different schools that reported massive COVID-19 infection among their athletes. The said athletes COVID-19 research can certainly help protect university and college athletes as they prepare themselves for future participation in the different sports tournaments.

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Did Serena Williams Win? Another U.S. Open Run

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On Wednesday, Serena Williams won against Tsvetana Pironkova, allowing her to reach the semi-finals round against her friend and rival, Victoria Azarenka. Winning the upcoming semi-finals would bring Williams to the championship match, permitting her to accumulate 24 single major titles as Margaret Court who has the same number of wins.

Making a huge comeback during the 2020 ASB Classic after being on maternity leave, Williams won against Jessica Pegula in the finals. During last Wednesday’s United States Open quarter-finals, top-seeded Williams nearly succumbed to unseeded Pironkova’s line. Incidentally, unseeded Pironkova is also unranked, playing her first ever tour after her inactivity of more than three years. Even Williams who is 38 years old, has not been away for that long.

32-year-old Pironkova, a Bulgarian veteran, made headlines due to her ecstatic rhythm. Some even liken her moves to the popular song, Bohemian Rhapsody with its ever-changing tempo and eclectic vocal crescendos. Giving birth to her son, Alexander, in April 2018, she was allegedly unsure of returning to the game. Nonetheless, she nearly made an enormous victory on Wednesday had Williams not butted her out of the game by winning 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

“It just shows me how tough moms are,” asserts Williams who has a 3-year-old daughter herself named Olympia. “Whenever you can give birth to a baby, honestly you can do anything. And I think we saw that with Tsvetana today,” she adds, admitting that she nearly lost the match to a worthy counterpart.

Nevertheless, bagging the quarter-finals match brings Williams to the semi-finals round, facing Victoria Azarenka on Thursday.

Consequently, Azarenka and Williams met in two consecutive US Open finals, in 2012 and in 2013. During both games, Williams won the matches and led their series, 18-4.

Previously, Williams and her coach Patrick Mouratoglou saw Azarenka as Williams’ biggest rival and threat. Azarenka beat Williams during the 2016 BNP Paribas Open finals that occurred in Indian Wells, California and even went on to win the Miami Open, permitting her to accomplish the famous Sunshine Double.

Nonetheless, Azarenka soon became pregnant and had to temporarily leave the tour. She returned to playing in 2017 but was often caught up with her personal problems due to a lengthy custody battle over Leo, her son, who is now 3 years old.

Both Williams and Azarenka are friends, having been reported to exchange notes and visits in 2017 right before Williams found herself pregnant which prompted her to leave the tour as well. They played against each other again last year, having Williams win the match with scores of 7-5, 6-3. For her part, though, Azarenka won the quarter-finals against Elise Mertens with scores of 6-1, 6-0 on Wednesday.

“Can it get any better? For me, it can’t. I’m so excited about it. An amazing opportunity to play against a champion, someone I respect a lot who is my friend,” says Azarenka, referring to their match-up with Williams. 

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Los Angeles Lakers Lead 2-1 Past Trail Blazers

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Los Angeles superstars Anthony Davis and LeBron James lead the Lakers to another win against the Trail Blazers on Saturday night. Through a stunning performance of dominating defense, the Lakers now lead Portland 2-1.

Power Plays

The Lakers defeated the high-scoring Trail Blazers in two straight games after a roaring James scored 38 points, made 12 rebounds, and eight assists, combined with Davis’ 29 points, 23 of which were scored in the second half. The game ended at 116-108 in favor of LA, who is now starting to look like the best team in the West.

As the Lakers rallied to conquer Game 2, Anthony Davis stepped up to the plate and shared a message to his teammate. “I told LeBron at half I’ve got to take some of the pressure off of him,” said Davis.

Portland has been outstripped of its number one spot after losing Game 1 to Los Angeles. The second game is the Trail Blazers’ highest-scoring game in the series, yet the effort wasn’t enough to overcome the impressive performance of the Lakers.

Scoring Points

Damian Lillard raked in 34 points even with a dislocated finger, and CJ McCollum contributed 28 points for Portland. The Trail Blazers tweaked their lineup, playing a big starting five with Hassan Whiteside and Jusuf Nurkic. This strategy kicked-off a great first quarter for Portland as they managed to ease through the second quarter with a lead. McCollum scored 13 points in the quarter, capped with a three-pointer at the buzzer ending the first half at 57-53.

James continued to execute 5 for 6 for 15 within an eight-minute period in the second quarter, preventing the Trail Blazers from outscoring the Lakers. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and James added a total of 12 consecutive points to pull the lead down to six at 70-64. Davis answered back with three straight jumpers and a dunk, tieing the game at 72. 

Los Angeles went on a shooting spree with a 10 to nothing run that easily ranked up the scoring to 89-78 as they entered the fourth quarter leading by seven points. 

Catching Up

The Trail Blazers quickly caught up and were only down by three in the fourth quarter with nine and a half minutes of playtime. But then, Davis re-entered the game all fired up, making perimeter shots and dunks, closing the period with 12 points.

A pressing defense handled the rest for the Lakers as the Trail Blazers were put off-track, making only three field goals in over seven minutes in the quarter. Los Angeles was able to escalate the lead to 109-98, with only over 2 minutes left in the game.

Everything came down to the fourth quarter, in which Lillard’s dislocated finger started to affect his ball-handling and shooting, causing the veteran to miss all four attempts from the three-point arch at the crucial last quarter. 

Where It Boils Down

Tery Stotts, Portland Trail Blazers’ coach, said, “It came down to a fourth-quarter game. Anthony Davis made his perimeter shots, and we came up empty too often.”

The Trail Blazers will attempt to make a comeback and even the series on Game 4.

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