Lab optimizes performance and prevents injury for warriors, athletes and more

Medill News Service journalist Colleen Zewe is embedding this spring as a reporter with with sports medicine researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Neuromuscular Research Lab as they enhance performance for warriors and athletes.

By Colleen Zewe
Medill Reports

At first glance, the University of Pittsburgh Neuromuscular Research Lab seems more like a gym than a laboratory. Treadmills, stationary bikes, weight racks and kettlebells all line the walls of the lab, which sits in a sports medicine hub of Pittsburgh. Just a few steps away, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Rooney Sports Complex welcomes the Steelers to practice and train.

But the Bod Pod, underwater treadmills, and an array of experiments hint that these workout machines aren’t used for regular exercise. Instead, they’re measuring warrior performance – the performance of military personnel. NMRL is also Pitt’s Warrior Human Performance Research Center. The researchers strive to optimize the performance of those who are quite literally human warriors: military personnel,  athletes and other active populations. Continue reading

Overcoming obstacles, Northwestern safety Jared McGee looks to take the league by storm

By Andre Earls
Medill Reports

Jared McGee has made it.

Whether it was fighting concussions since he was 14-years-old, coming off of a brutal hip injury in 2017, or even fighting for playing time in the midst of his fifth year season, he’s overcome every obstacle in his path. Sure, the NFL Draft is in April, and sure, he has doubts if he’ll even be drafted at the end of the month. Even so, McGee can still claim victory after everything he’s been through to get to this point.

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Chicago group makes climbing accessible

By Melissa Hovanes
Medill Reports

At age 15, Clarinda Valentine’s life was forever altered. “A guy came in the YMCA shooting and I got the bullet in the back,” said Valentine. “That’s kind of been my life since then. I was a sophomore in high school at the time.”

Forty-nine years later, at age 64, Valentine spends her Wednesday evenings climbing a 50-foot rope at Brooklyn Boulders in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood. She’s been climbing for more than three years with Adaptive Climbing Group Chicago. “I see the benefit in my ability… I’m physically stronger, and more fit,” said Valentine. “It makes my life easier when transferring from the wheelchair.”

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Michigan Wolverines come up short in quest for B1G Tournament 3-Peat

By Seth Schlechter
Medill Reports

Michigan steamrolls Iowa and Minnesota before falling to rival in B1G Title Game

Prior to taking the floor each game, the Michigan Wolverines huddle at the end of the tunnel for a last-second pregame pep talk. One by one, each player takes a turn saying what he will contribute to the team that day.

Walk-ons such as C.J. Baird and Luke Wilson stressed bringing energy to the bench. They’d be bringing that same energy to the floor this weekend, as both played the closing minutes of Michigan’s first two wins of the B1G Tournament at the United Center in Chicago.

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Big Ten Tournament Notebook – Michigan State defeats Michigan 65-60 to capture Big Ten tournament title

By Neel Madhavan
Medill Reports

The five-day Big Ten Tournament kicked off with thousands of people pouring into the United Center Wednesday evening, March 13 as the games culminated with the championship on March 17. Step back through the highlights for your favorite Big Ten teams.

March 17

With about 2 minutes left in the Big Ten tournament title game, Michigan State trailed Michigan by five points, 60-55. From the top of the key, Spartans junior guard Cassius Winston drove towards the paint and dished a pass to senior guard Matt McQuaid on the wing.

McQuaid promptly rose up and drained one of his Big Ten tournament championship game record-breaking seven three-pointers to cut the deficit to two.

From that point on, Michigan State could do no wrong and Michigan collapsed, as the Spartans closed out the game on a 10-0 run to win their first Big Ten tournament championship since 2016, 65-60.

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A disappointing Northwestern Men’s Basketball season ends in a fitting way – with a loss

The Wildcats’ season ended with an overtime loss in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament at the United Center last week,  ending a dismal 2018-19 season

by Tim Hackett
Medill Reports

March 13, 2017. Northwestern Men’s Basketball prepared for a trip to Salt Lake City, reveling in the previous night’s announcement that the Wildcats would – finally! – be participating in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history. The Cats emerged victorious over Vanderbilt in their first ever tourney game before falling to eventual national runners-up Gonzaga in the second round.

March 13, 2019. Northwestern Men’s Basketball retreated to the locker room at the United Center in Chicago, players and staff in tears, as the reality set in – following a 74-69 overtime loss in the first round of the 2019 Big Ten Tournament – the nightmare  2018-19 season was finally over. Two years after the greatest season in the history of Wildcat basketball, the Cats turned in one of the worst. Northwestern finishes with 13 wins overall and just four in conference play, both the lowest totals since 2012-13, Bill Carmody’s last season as Northwestern head coach.

Last week at the United Center, Carmody’s successor Chris Collins encapsulated the frustration that has followed his team all season long. Continue reading

From preps to the pros: can the NBA solve a decade-old controversy?

By Greg Melo and Emma Goodson
Medill Reports

Kevin Garnett. Tracy McGrady. Kobe Bryant – giants from an era of basketball where highly touted prospects had no incentive or legal obligations to play at the college level before going pro.

That era could return in a few years due to a new NBA policy proposal and shift the very landscape of the sport.

The prep to pro generation of the NBA ended in 2005, when the league’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement required draft-eligible players to be 19 years old in the same calendar year of the draft that they planned to enter.

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International athletes face special challenges as seniors

By Fernando Shan
Medill Reports

Turning pro is the dream for student athletes. But many give up  that dream due to injuries, players say.

“I don’t think professional tennis is a realistic goal. Tennis is going to end at college [graduation]. It’s time to move on,”said Rachel Le Comber, a senior on the UIC women’s tennis team.
The majority of student athletes need to figure out another career path before graduation.
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Kentucky golfer makes a name for himself in first PGA Tour-appearance at the Genesis Open

By Neel Madhavan
Medill Reports

One of the perks for Lukas Euler winning the Genesis Open’s Collegiate Showcase on Feb. 11 was the opportunity to meet the tournament’s host, Tiger Woods.

The other perk for the Kentucky senior was earning a spot in the main field at Riviera Country Club and competing against and meeting some of the best professional golfers in the world.

“I’m just walking around out here as proud as I can be and as happy as I can be,” said Kentucky coach Brian Craig. “This is a dream come true for Lukas, and so that makes me happy. He’s been able to rub elbows with just about every top-10 player in the world – like talk to them, not just ‘Hey,’ but actually talk to some of these guys. They’ve been so kind to him, so it’s made it a really memorable experience for him.”

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Lake View basketball – A future full of promise

By John Alfes
Medill Reports

Lake View High School men’s basketball heads into the off-season with a sense of determination and cohesion after the trials and tribulations of the 2018-19 season.

“We felt that we had a lot of ups and downs, but we accomplished many things,” said Dominic Saez, a junior shooting guard at the varsity level. “Coming into this next season, we’re going to try to do it better than how we did it this year.”

Despite having a 6-2 record at home and 5-4 record in conference play, the Wildcats finished with a final clip of 11-17 this winter. Following his fourth season at the helm, head coach Mike Davis will now have to piece together a new roster for the 2019-20 campaign without the 10 seniors who spearheaded much of the 2018-19 team’s production and leadership.

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