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Reds End Decade of Sports Futility in Cincinnati

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Losantiville is Loserville no more. With the Reds’ Game 1 victory in the National League Division Series in San Francisco, Cincinnati’s long drought of postseason failure came to an end.   

Dusty Baker Deserves More Credit

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 3, 2012
It’s too bad it took a mini-stroke for Dusty Baker to get a little bit of relief from his critics. Baker will be leading the Reds to their second postseason appearance in the last three years, but he’s far from beloved in town — he’s hardly even respected.  

Reds Set Up for Continued Success

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 26, 2012
After going more than a decade without a proper postseason, the Reds are making October a normal part of the season, last week clinching their second postseason berth in three years. And the way the roster has been built, there should be more to come.  
by Bill Sloat 09.24.2012
Posted In: News, Sports at 03:20 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Cincinnati Research Team Uncovers Grim NFL Stat

Retired football players die at high rates of Alzheimer’s and ALS

So much for glory days on the gridiron. Playing pro football makes it far more likely than normal a brain can turn into mush. And there’s elevated likelihood these once powerful bodies will shut themselves down with Lou Gehrig’s disease.    Disturbing new data from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health lab in Cincinnati says retired NFL players are dying from Alzheimer disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis at rates four times higher than the U.S. population. Other neurodegenerative diseases kill retired NFL players at about twice the norm. The study appears in this month’s issue of Neurology, a medical journal affiliated with the American Academy of Neurology. Overall, retired football players live longer and are healthier than most Americans, especially the linemen. But some of the players who passed, caught and defended are clearly beset by excessive amounts of neurodegenerative disorders later in the lives.   Former quarterbacks, running backs, fullbacks, receivers, defensive backs, linebackers and safeties comprise the biggest group of former players who suffer. All were in the so-called “speed” positions, players who took hits that included high-acceleration head impacts.    For the pro football study, the Cincinnati-based research team looked at health records of 3,439 retired NFL players who had five seasons in the league between 1959 and 1988. The researchers tracked down 334 death certificates across the nation. Of those, 17 had a neurodegenerative disorder listed as the cause of death; 14 had been in speed positions.   (Cardiovascular disease claimed 126 of the ex-NFL players; cancer took 85).   The NIOSH team said their findings add to a growing collection of evidence that shows football players face an increased risk of neurodegenerative disease. Most previous studies have focused on long-term health effects of repeated concussions. Besides finding increased death rates from Alzheimer’s, ALS (which often is called Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and Parkinson disease (about three times the national rate), the Cincinnati scientists raised an entirely new concern. They said football players have elevated death rates from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which is a pathologically distinct neurodegenerative condition. It sets in years after head-knocking and is linked to a progressive decline in neuron functioning. It can change the ability to think and makes it difficult to move about because the brain doesn’t work as it should.    Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which goes by the initials CTE, isn’t reported on many death certificates because the diagnosis has only been recently recognized.       Everett J. Lehman was lead author of the study; others who worked on it were Misty Hein, Sherry L. Baron and Christine M. Gersic.  The researchers said their findings cannot be applied to other professional sports. And the team says more information is needed about the impact of football injuries: “Because our cohort was limited to longer-term professional players, our findings may not be applicable to other professional and nonprofessional football players. However, recent autopsy studies have reported pathologic findings of CTE in college-age and professional football players with relatively short playing careers. We did not have data on player injuries and conductions.  If chronic mild to moderate concussion is an actual risk factor for neurodegenerative mortality, the magnitude of the risk may depend on the intensity and frequency of brain injuries incurred over a number of years. … Finally, we did not have information on environmental, genetic or other risk factors for neurologic disorders.”NIOSH did not say it found a cause and effect for the higher than normal number of Alzheimer and ALS deaths. But the scientists said they had no doubt “that professional football players are at an increased risk of death from neurodegenerative causes.”
 
 

Young Bengals Receivers Step Up

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 19, 2012
One of the biggest questions coming out of the Bengals training camp was whether or not the team could find a second receiver to complement A.J. Green — for at least one day. In the Bengals’ 34-27 victory over the Browns, Cincinnati had some weaknesses exposed, but the receiving corps certainly wasn’t one of them.   

Ending a Love Affair With Football

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 12, 2012
A funny thing happened to me during the first full weekend of football — or didn’t happen to me. I just didn’t care.   

Robert Geathers Talks Bengals' Locker Room, Leadership

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Robert Geathers is entering his ninth year with the Bengals and is now the most tenured member of the team. He was drafted in the same class as Chris Perry, Keiwan Ratliff and Madieu Williams. He’s been a member of all three of Marvin Lewis’ playoff teams, seen the high times and low, but has rarely been in the spotlight. That’s pretty much how he likes it.   

Cardinals Still the Reds' Biggest Threat

0 Comments · Wednesday, August 29, 2012
For a few months the Pirates were a nice, uplifting story, but deep down everyone knew the Cardinals were the real threat, the real enemy of the Reds.  

Votto on Injury, Rehab and Watching a Winner

0 Comments · Wednesday, August 22, 2012
When the Reds announced that Joey Votto needed knee surgery and was going to miss a month, most thought the best-case scenario would be the first-place Reds treading water and hopefully keeping the Pirates and Cardinals at bay. And even that was seen as a bit optimistic.  
by tt stern-enzi 08.20.2012
Posted In: Tennis at 09:24 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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W&S Open: Championship Weekend

Saturday semifinals and on the men’s side, the only real intrigue comes from looking ahead to the finals, although any player will tell you that they can never overlook the opponent immediately across the net. Novak Djokovic, the number two seed, goes toe-to-toe with the sixth seed from Argentina Juan Martin Del Potro, the first man other than Rafael Nadal to steal a Grand Slam from Federer during his amazing run from a few years ago. Del Potro has dealt with injuries, which slowed him down following his US Open win, but he’s back and clearly has what it takes to reach the finals here. Djokovic has definitely brought that return game of his, which will be key against the taller Del Potro who takes advantage of his height. The first set stays on-serve until Del Potro litters a serve game with two double faults and Djokovic breaks for a 4-2 lead. From that point, it’s a routine set of holds with Djokovic winning the set 6-3.  Djokovic breaks Del Potro during his second service game in the second set. A pair of holds before Djokovic breaks again (Del Potro fails to win a point during this service game) for a 5-2 lead. Watching the latter portion of this set, its curious to see Djokovic pushing Del Potro further and further off the baseline with punishingly deep shots. And he pushes and shoves him right out of the match with a final ace [6-3, 6-2]. ••• The other semifinal match is all Swiss, all the time. The number one-seed and world’s number one player Roger Federer against Stanislas Wawrinka. The two teamed up to capture the gold in doubles in the Olympics and having served as practice partners over the years, there’s a real familiarity that could make this match intriguing. Federer comes out and it is apparent that as the man is king of all he surveys. The crowds are overwhelmingly behind him, granting him home court advantage, although its not like he needs it. The first set features flashes of brilliance from each man as they hold serve with Wawrinka confirming that he has a powerful weapon in his serve. He logs more aces than Federer, yet Federer's net play and shot selection more than keeps him in the match. By the inevitable tiebreak, the all-around game of Federer leads to a 7-4 win. The second set is more of the same as they trade holds up through 3-games all, and then Federer sneaks in a break and a strong hold for a 5-3 lead. The expectation is for a Wawrinka hold and then Federer to serve it out, but an untimely double fault for Wawrinka gives the game and match to Federer [7-6 (7-4), 6-3]. FINALS Roger Federer versus Novak Djokovic. The number one seed versus the number two seed – the first time the two top seeds have met in the finals at the W&S Open. This is the match everyone was waiting for and the crowds are raucous.   On court, the action takes an unexpected turn. Federer breaks immediately, holds and then breaks again for a 3-0 lead. He holds again at love and unbelievably breaks once more for 5-0. Is Djokovic hurt? He makes no calls for his coach or a trainer and simply lets Federer serve out the first set [6-0]. Has he ever been blanked in a set, in an event final? When Djokovic holds to start the second set, the crowd whoops it up, hoping to provide him with a charge. And now both players look like the top seeds we came to see. The service games add up and there’s the sense that a tiebreak is in store. When it arrives, the temperature seems to rise. Heat and excitement generate a palpable jolt. Federer grabs a mini-break on Djokovic’s first serve and holds his two points. Before the air deflates out of the stands, Djokovic holds and breaks back. Back and forth they go. At 6-6, with the crowd firmly in his corner, Djokovic holds to take a 7-6 lead, but Federer scores a huge smash before taking the next two points and the match. He raises his arms and grants Mirka a knowing nod as he walks over to towel off before the trophy presentation. This match sets the field on notice that Federer is ready to extend his Grand Slam singles title count even further and everybody, including the defending champion, better watch out. ••• The women’s finalists, ninth seed Na Li (CHN) and the fifth seed Angelique Kerber (GER), have the distinction of being the players who took out the Williams sisters on the way towards this meeting and each of them has proven capable of slugging it out or exerting their will through carefully constructed points. Much like the men’s final though, this one starts off rather one-sided. Kerber follows up an all-business hold with a quick break of Li and another hold.  Li finally hangs on during a service game, but what has undone her thus far is an inability to rein in her shots. Serves and groundstrokes sail far and wide in an-ever increasing avalanche. She seems confounded by her lack of control, but by the time Kerber has earned the first set at 6-1, Li has no answers and yet, it is Kerber who calls for an on-court conference with her coach. The second set offers more of the same, as Li continues to push shots, except for her swinging half-volleys, which she nails with surprising accuracy. Somehow, she settles into a groove and evens things up at 3-all. Kerber lapses into a funk and before you know it, Li has secured the second set 6-3. Li breaks to open the third set and suddenly, the two have completely switched games. Kerber can’t keep the ball on the court or as the games mount, it looks like she’s frustrated by Li’s ability to power shots all over the court. Kerber begins to stop chasing down shots that she consistently reached in the first set. She calls for a second pow-wow with her coach after falling down 3-0. Li aces her to take the fourth game, but Kerber digs deep enough to win her next service game and the crowd perks up for a minute, checking Kerber’s resolve.  Unfortunately, Kerber had nothing left in the tank and she allowed Li to sweep her off the court without much resistance. The final score [1-6, 6-3, 6-1] doesn’t quite reflect the curious lack of sharp precise play. It will be interesting to see if either player can use today’s effort as a springboard into the US Open. The women’s side of the upcoming Slam appears wide open, ready and waiting for someone, anyone to step up to the big stage, like Stosur last year. At this rate though, it will take far more from either of these finalists to own that epic moment.
 
 

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