All posts by Benji Cohen

Advances in treatment mean ACL injuries are no longer career-enders for athletes

By Benji Cohen

Years ago, when an athlete tore their ACL (the anterior cruciate ligament in the knee), they would never be the same athlete or, worse, it may have meant their career was over.

New surgical techniques and physical therapy rehabilitation that have developed over the past several years have changed that. It’s now possible for athletes who suffer ACL injuries to come back to high-level sports, and in many cases have the same abilities they had before.

Video: A view inside the surgical process that corrects ACL injuries. (Benji Cohen/Medill)

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Soccer is the leader in concussions among women’s sports

A Medill Newsmakers Report

By Benji Cohen

On this edition of Medill Newsmakers we discuss concussions in a sport that has not received as much attention for its concussion problems as football has.

Women’s soccer had the fourth highest sports-related concussion rate per player among NCAA sports and the second most concussions overall, according to a 2015 study done by The American Physical Therapy Association.

Dale Grooms, Head Athletic Trainer at New Trier Township High School, joined us in studio for two segments and talked about the return-to-play protocols. We were also joined by Maurizio Grillo, Head Women’s Soccer Coach at Evanston Township High School, and he shared his experiences with players who had suffered concussions during his coaching career.

Also included are interview segments with Abby Burridge, a Junior Center-Back at Loyola University of Chicago, and Dr. Cynthia LaBella, Sports Medicine Specialist at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago.

Photo at top: Abby Burridge, a Junior Center-Back for Loyola University’s women’s soccer team, has suffered two concussions while playing for the Ramblers. (Benji Cohen/Medill)

The Bard of the Skyline: Chicago Shakespeare Theatre expands on Navy Pier

By Benji Cohen

Chicago Shakespeare Theatre is expanding its presence at Navy Pier with a new theater space, the company announced today at an unveiling of the architectural design.

The year-round venue named The Yard will be the third theatrical stage for the Shakespeare troupe. The venue will fit inside the current Skyline Stage and will be able to be configured in a variety of different ways, depending on production needs and audience size.

The space will be able to hold audiences ranging from 150 to 850 people.

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Evanston’s new “Temperance” movement involves lots of beer (VIDEO)

By Benji Cohen

Two and a half years ago, Temperance Beer Co. became Evanston’s first craft brewery since prohibition. Temperance got its name from the anti-alcohol movement that began in Evanston in the early 20th century, and it says Evanston can once again be part of a growing Temperance movement: But this one is about beer. Since 2013, the company has grown its capacity by 50%.

And it’s not alone. The craft brewing industry in the Chicago area has grown tremendously over the last several years. According to the Brewers Association, the number of craft breweries in Illinois has grown from 54 in 2011 to 103 in 2014, ranking Illinois 11th among all states in the U.S.

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The other concussion concern: Women’s soccer (Video)

By Benji Cohen

While much of the discussion about concussions centers on football and the men – both young and professional – who play it, Dr. Cynthia R. Labella is quick to point out that there is another sport that gets much less attention.

“The concussion rates in women’s soccer are almost as high as the concussion rates for boys in football,” says LaBella, the medical director for the Institute of Sports Medicine at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

Abby Burridge is among those statistics. The college Junior is the center-back for Loyola University’s Women’s soccer team. She suffered the second concussion of her collegiate career last spring.

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By Benji Cohen

The transition from a basketball superstar player to a college head coach has been relatively smooth, according to Sheryl Swoopes. No matter what the record indicates.

Swoopes, 44, often called the “Michael Jordan of women’s basketball,” is in her third season coaching  Loyola University’s women’s basketball team, a program that has “no tradition,” Swoopes said.

The three-time WNBA MVP’s record in her first two seasons  was 17-46.

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By Benji Cohen

Northwestern looked like two different basketball teams in the first and second halves of its’ home opener Friday night against University of Massachusetts at Lowell.

The Wildcats struggled to find their rhythm offensively in the first half against an opponent that finished in 6th place in the America East Conference . They shot 34.3 percent from the field and 7.7 percent on 3-pointers and trailed 34-32 at halftime.

In the second half, the Wildcats shot 58 percent from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc and won 79-57.

Shooting is supposed to be one of the Wildcats’ strengths this season, according to coach Chris Collins.

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