All posts by zoecollinsrath2020

Coaches and PT’s work together to keep athletes strong after injuries

By Zoe Collins Rath
Medill Reports

Despite hours in the gym and weight room, practices and taking good care of their bodies, elite athletes still sustain physical injuries that can take them out of their sport for as much as a year.

One of the most common injuries is a torn ACL, one of the four crucial ligaments to stabilize the knee. Girls of all ages and women are more prone to ACL tears. The focus for these injuries are often seen in basketball and soccer players, but gymnasts need to be included more in the conversation.

“My concern is watching a kid who doesn’t fully understand their body and the way to properly land,” said gymnastics coach DeAvera Todd a coach in Atlanta but a former UIC Flame. “They could blow their knees out because there is no strength in the quads and glutes to protect them from extremely hard skills.”

Video: Exercising and strengthening the glutes is one way to help prevent ACL tears. (Courtesy of DeAvera Todd)

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Basketball Africa League’s 12 teams set to start in March

By Zoe Collins Rath
Medill Reports

Basketball is a sport that is growing and the best example of its growth was the announcement of the 12 teams participating in the new Basketball Africa League, 10 years after the NBA opened an office in Africa.

“Basketball Africa is happening,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said during a speech in NBA Africa All-Star Luncheon.

Former and current African NBA and WNBA players were at the luncheon to welcome the 12 new teams who will start their first season in March. The  teams are from Algeria, Angola, Cameroon, Egypt, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal and Tunisia.

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Bryant’s presence felt at Hall of Fame Announcement

By Zoe Collins Rath
Medill Reports

The Basketball Hall of Fame finalists were announced Friday, but the typically joyous occasion was somber when recalling the memory of Class of 2020 nominee Kobe Bryant.

“We wish he were here today,” said NBA TV host Matt Winer, who emceed the announcement.

Bryant was one of nine people that died in a helicopter crash in late January, including his daughter. It is his first year to be nominated for the Hall of Fame and “the entire basketball community is still grieving” the passings of Bryant, Hall of Fame Coach Morgan Wooten and former NBA Commissioner David Stern, Winer said.

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Fans “still taking it in” after death of Kobe Bryant

Zoe Collins Rath
Medill Reports

In the wake of the deaths of Los Angeles Laker great Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others in a helicopter crash in California on Jan. 26, people all over the world are sharing their condolences and paying their respects.

“We want to pay tribute to a man that impacted a lot on the world,” said Deena Jefferson.

Jefferson is from Bellingham, Washington, and is a member of the Lummi tribe. Basketball is an important part of Lummi culture and on Monday night outside of the United Center, she was writing messages on the building in memory of Bryant before the Bulls game with the San Antonio Spurs. Continue reading

Professionals work to break mental health stigma in sports

By Zoe Collins Rath
Medill Reports

Social workers and therapists like Stephanie Adams and Natalie Graves work to break the stigma of depression and mental health while helping athletes perform.

“I created a practice that helps address mental health and performance in athletes,” said Graves, who has a practice based in Chicago and Orland Park.

Over the last decade, mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety are on the rise across all age groups in the United States, especially in the age demographic of 12-17. Many of these youths are athletes, but depression strikes professional athletes as well.
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