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Editorial: Concussions A Rising Problem In Sports

Posted by Christian on March 25, 2013 at 8:05 PM Comments comments (0)

The incremental rise of traumatic injuries in sports is becoming more and more prevalent as the talent and competition continues to rise. We must come to address the source of the issue and actions must be taken to ensure the safety and developmental growth that our youth is missing from the head traumas that are being endured. The brain is made of soft tissue. It's cushioned by spinal fluid and encased in the protective shell of the skull. When you sustain a concussion, the impact can jolt your brain. Sometimes, it literally causes it to move around in your head. Traumatic brain injuries can cause bruising, damage to the blood vessels, and injury to the nerves. As many as 3.8 million sports- and recreation-related concussions occur each year in the U.S, and you would think by now we would have realized how essential it is to start gaining better technology to advance the safety in our sports. All ages suffer from concussions and the prevention and protection we have now, clearly isn’t enough. Legislation within the sporting world has been focused on the rise and availability of events like bringing sports to those who aren’t fortunate enough to play, yet we are lacking the emergency of safety that we need. We need to make drastic increase in our protection to lower the risk of concussions in the sports that are taking part 365 days a year. Concussions are becoming the leading cause of brain related traumas that we are seeing from a day to day basis, and deaths/severe injuries are prevalent from the repeated blows to the head that are constantly taking place in every competitive environment. Action on making safer and more reliable equipment on the playing fields must take quick notice if we ever plan on reducing the risk of brain injuries and concussions our daily battles within the white paint.

One of the most dangerous sports in today’s world is full contact football. Virtually everybody has some kind of experience with one of America’s most favorite pastimes. In recent years there have been numerous former players that are being emitted for mental health issues and the diagnoses are followed back to the constant head on collisions in football. Jim McMahon, star quarterback for the Chicago Bears and Super Bowl MVP of Super Bowl XX, now is suffering from Dementia. In 2012 he began filing a lawsuit against the National Football League (NFL) for the lack of provided attention and physical protection. The minimal awareness of the seriousness to brain damage was given little thought back in 1986 when McMahon retired; yet, the awareness has risen very little over the last twenty six years. Jim McMahon’s condition is getting more and more serious as he ages, and we are finally realizing the dangerous effects that brain injuries create. McMahon notes, “its frustrating effects of memory loss, but he’s doing all he can to keep his brain active such as reading and attending charity events. Losing one’s memory sucks because it’s the sole trait, ideally, a person can take with them, as they get older. Physical appearance fades, health gets more complicated but memories are supposed to represent the flowers to the soul’s garden.” Or in the case of Junior Seau, hearing a player ended his own life because of brain trauma helps put everything in context. The issue reaches as far down to the pee wee level with parents and current players like Scott Bart and Steve Young even questioning whether letting their kids risk head injuries resulting from the sport is even worth the potential heartache. In any event, McMahon’s situation is one of thousands detailing a problem the league will never truly come to a suitable conclusion on. There are too many factors bubbling on the surface. And it’s one of those situations where we realize a group of men gave their body and mind to an art form, which in turn took damn near everything from them.

From my own personal experience, I took many blows in my pee-wee through high school football career and more than one time I can recall getting hit and getting up with a headache or blurry vision at times. Yet, of course, I never told any of my coaches and kept playing. Even when I would take a big hit, I was slowly make my way to the side line to get the next play call and the coaches would rarely ever ask about my physical awareness or ability to continue playing. There is very little thought about the actual health of the players and this raises a huge issue that is more prevalent than just a local quarterback that has the heart to keep playing, it’s a nationwide issue. Looking back, I probably should’ve stopped myself from going back into the danger zone numerous times, but we athletes lie about our current state of mind when we are on the field. Can we truly ever know how many athletes have had concussions but failed to be properly diagnosed? The answer is hell no. However, with my own two eyes I watched my own teammate collapse from a mild concussion and have to be rushed to the Emergency Room. Luckily he was treated and released a few days later, but was forced to sit out the next six weeks of the season waiting for his swollen brain to heal.

As a country we must put the health of our athletes and people first and start investing ways to make the games we play safer. After this past NFL football season, the board passed laws to admit fines to players that connect head to head contact while tackling. This is a first big step that we need towards the safety. Next step that we need to take is advancement in equipment. Or another alternative that could potentially work is requiring all teams to hire a team psychologist that is required to test all their players’ cognition and brain levels before every game. Small steps are beginning to start now, but it’s about thirty years late, but I guess better now than never. The advancement and safety of players in all sports must immediately become the main focus in our world to prevent fatal and serious consequences of our lack of attention to the brain

-Reece Weber 


Grandview Girls Basketball Headed Full Steam Into The Playoffs

Posted by Christian on March 5, 2013 at 11:20 AM Comments comments (0)

On a roster full of talent, fans, parents, and even players became accustomed to a Wolves team that played lights out on the court every night and never let up on a team no matter the situation.

The 2012-2013 season for the Grandview Girls Basketball team was one of the best in school history. The Wolves finished the regular season with an outstanding record of 21-2 and many of their wins were by twenty or more points.

Senior Erin Kemp, who is headed to Black Hills State University, felt that the season had some challenges but got on the right track early. "I think the season went well. When we were faced with challenges we overcame them together. And statistically it's our best season so far." 

As the first two rounds came and went for the Wolves, the team played outstanding basketball and beat each of the teams they played (Chatfield and Rock Canyon) by more than twenty points. The Wolves are now headed into the Elite 8 round of the state tournament for the second year in a row to play Chaparral Thursday night at 5:30pm. 

Motivation between the players is one of the key things that has kept the team on track, and has helped them be so successful in the playoffs thus far. "We need to continue to bring each other up and work together. If we don't care who gets the credit and play all out all of the time we play really well," Said Kemp, "Playoffs have gone really well and we've been playing some of our best basketball. We're just taking it one game at a time."

Adaeze Obinnah, who is headed to Rice next year, felt the playoffs are a lot more important to all the teams in the tournament. "Playoffs are a bit different than regular season since all the teams we play are fighting to continue their season. So every team comes out hard. I think we've really been finishing games well. Opponents may start out hard, but when we keep playing hard through the second half they're more likely to break."

Chaparral (19-5) won their first two playoff games against Monarch and Denver East by an average of 8 points.

Kemp believes they're in good postion with Chaparral for the Elite 8 matchup, "I feel like Chap is a good matchup for us and very beatable. They want it just as bad as we do so it will definitely be a test for us as a team."

Obinnah agreed with Kemp on their ability to play against Chaparral, "I feel that we should beat Chap if we play hard together throughout the whole game. They're a senior-heavy team just like us so it means just as much to them as it does to us. It will be a test for our team, but nothing that we can't handle if we execute well and stick to the game plan."

Chaparral who is headed into Thursday nights contest on a 5 game win streak, should be ready for the Wolves coming off a big win over Denver East Tuesday night. 

The Wolves will have their work cut out for them as they head into their game with Chaparral Thursday. It will be a game to watch as both teams are in the hunt for a state championship appearance. 

Boys Basketball: The Number 4 Seed Grandview Wolves Ready For Playoffs

Posted by Christian on February 25, 2013 at 3:05 PM Comments comments (0)

As the playoffs begin this week for basketball teams around the state of Colorado, the number 4 seed Grandview Wolves are set to play the winner of Legend (5) and Rocky Mountain (12) following a first round bye. 

Throughout the regular season the Wolves had many ups with few downs, and as they head into the playoffs things are looking bright for the team who finished the regular season 16-7 overall. 

"I think we finished out the season pretty well. Wish we would have beat Arapahoe, but we had a really good come from behind win at Creek to end the regular season." In the final week of the regular season the Wolves split their games losing one to Arapahoe and winning a thriller against The Cherry Creek Bruins at Cherry Creek High School in the final minutes.

Tanner Gentry and Eric Garcia, the wolves guards, feel that they could have overall played better throughout the season, but are in good position right now heading into the playoffs. 

The past few games the Wolves have struggled to play as a team, and Gentry believes that is something they can impove on heading into the playoffs. "We just need to keep working hard in practice and play as a team to be succesful throughout the playoffs." 

"To be successful in the playoffs we have to focus on getting stops every time down the floor and make sure we are getting out in transition because thats one of the best things we do." "Defense wins championships so that is our main priority" Said Garcia when asked about what they will need to focus on throughout the playoffs. 

The Wolves Star Center Branden Cosby-Lee also believes that Defense is really going to be the key to success throughout the playoffs. " We really need to work on our defense," Cosby said in a very quick response, " Its something we really need to focus on." 

Gentry believes having a bye the first round is a good thing, and will help the team get ready for their second round match up. "I like the first round bye because we have a whole week to rest up and practice to get ready for the playoffs." 

Garcia is already preparing for their potential second round game against either #5 Legend or #12 Rocky Mountain. "I dont know to much about Rocky Mountain, but I know Legend is a very good team." "They have good size and a couple shooters so whoever we play we just need to focus on defense and stick to what makes us successful."

Defense for the Wolves is really going to be a focus for the entire team througout the playoffs, and is going to be their key to success against teams that not only have players that can shoot from the outside, but can get low in the key and play inside.

The Wolves are averaging 64.4 points per game, and recently have had some pretty high scoring games. They are also averaging 2.1 steals per game, and 27.8 rebounds per game.

-Christian Backes  

Player Profile and Interview: Grandview's Reece Weber

Posted by Christian on February 25, 2013 at 3:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Reece Weber, quarterback from Grandview High School in Aurora, Colorado, had an outstanding season for the Wolves, setting and passing many of the schools passing, and rushing records for a quarterback. He owns the title to six school records.

Weber, passed for 1786 yards, while rushing for another 639 in the 12 games played.  Setting the record for the most passing and rushing yards in a season, and the record for most touchdowns in a game with 4, had one of the best seasons a quarterback has ever had for the Wolves. Some of the others include: most rushing yards from a quaterback in a single game, longest play resutling in a touchdown, and touchdown passes in a season. 

Weber who also plays center field and pitches for Grandview decided he wanted play baseball in college, and is headed to The Univerisity of New Mexico next year. 

Weber is heading into his final season for Grandview's baseball team. He told me he feels confident, excited, and he feels like he is at the top of his game playing the best he ever has. 

Weber is hopeful of getting drafted after his final season with the Wolves, and is sitting high on the Under Armour All American watch List. 

I spoke with Weber about his choice to attend UNM earlier this week and he was excited about his opportunities to play Division One baseball. Weber expressed that he is really looking forward to spending the next four years going to school in Albuquerque.

"It was the right fit for me, all I needed was one coach to give me a chance to prove myself and i'm determined to show him he was right" 

Weber loved the team, the atmosphere and the facilites were some of the best he had ever seen. He told me he is really looking forward to spending most of his time on the field and in the weight room improving his skills. 

Weber is hoping to leave a legacy behind after he finishes up playing at Grandview, not only on the football field with all his achievments that are sure to stick around for a long time, but also on the baseball field, where he plans to lead the Wolves to their first ever state Championship. 

-Christian Backes 

Boys Basketball: Grandview Guard Eric Garcia

Posted by Christian on December 17, 2012 at 11:20 PM Comments comments (0)

With a big season ahead, and four games already played by Grandview (3-1), the Wolves star guard Eric Garcia, who is headed to Wofford College, has big expectations for this season. 

Garcia, who commited to Wofford College in September and signed his letter of intent in November, is focused on finishing out his career at Grandview. When asked about how he felt about not needing to worry about recruiting anymore, he told me, "It feels great to have the weight of recruiting off of my back because I can put all of my focus on my team and not worry about colleges looking at me. I know where I am going and am happy with my decision, so this year is just dedicated to my high school team."

Garcia has set big goals for his last season in high school, "My goals for the season is obviously to win state. Thats been my goal since freshman year, so since this is my last chance, I really want to get it done."

Grandview has made it to the playoffs every year for the past four years, in the 2009-10 season they found themselves in the Great Eight, in 2010-11 they lost in the first round, they lost in the round of 16. That simply was not enough for Garcia, and the rest of the seniors at Grandview. 

This years team, coached by Gary Childress, has many returning players including Grandview's big man Branden Cosby Lee. When asked about how this years team Garcia said, "I feel great about this years team because we have a lot of tools. We have experience, talent, and the right pieces to have a chance to win state this year. If we work hard and stay humble, then anything is possible."

This season the Wolves have started out strong and plan to keep that going down the road,"Our games have went pretty good. We are 3 and 1 this year so far. We've beat some really good teams and lost to a good team in Fossil Ridge. We feel like we can win every game, so when we lose it's definitely difficult."

The little things are a key point in practice for the Wolves, they want to build on the good things they have done through the first four games, and improve on the low points, "Well every day in practice we try to get better at doing all the little things. We know that in order to beat tough teams we have to do all the little things right. Things like boxing out, talking on defense, and getting out and running in transition."

"This week the Wolves are headed to California to play in a National tournament," Said Garcia, "We play teams from all over the country, so it's going to be a good tournament"

Grandview is ready for the challenge out in California, "We play some really tough teams, but know if we play hard every game, we always have a chance to win." 

Garcia this season is averaging 22.0 points per game, and has 88 points total, and averages 5.5 assists through the four games the Wolves have played.

-Christian Backes 

Colorado Finds Their Coach

Posted by Christian on December 10, 2012 at 10:05 PM Comments comments (0)

San Jose State head coach Mike Macintyre has been hired by the University Of Colorado and will become the football teams 25th full time head coach. His hiring ends a two-week search by Colorado that included a rejection by its first choice, Butch Jones (Tennessee's new head coach). The deal is reportedly 10 million for five years at two million a year.

He was officially introduced Monday at 4:00pm MTN, and not long after had his first meeting with his new team which lasted just long enough to leave his players with this thought: He's turned around one program and he can do the same at Colorado.

MacIntyre inherits a squad that's coming off a 1-11 record this year, the worst in the 123 year history of the school, that led to the firing of Jon Embree. "We've got a long way to go. But I've been there before and I know what to do," MacIntyre told a room full of boosters and media on Monday.

The Spartans (10-2) are ranked No. 25 in the BCS and are heading to the Dec. 27 Military Bowl in Washington, D.C. to face Bowling Green (8-4), two years after a 1-12 showing in McIntyre's first season. This is the first 10-win season in a quarter century for the Spartans, who are ranked 24th in both the AP and coaches' polls.

MacIntyre, was 16-21 in three years as a head coach at San Jose State after serving as Duke's defensive coordinator and working as a secondary coach for the Dallas Cowboys and New York Jets.

The new coach faces a short and tough recruiting season and must try to keep defections to a minimum from a roster that's loaded with freshmen. Still, MacIntyre is confident things can change in a hurry.

Macintyre's next job is to find his staff, figure out who he will keep around from the "Embree Era" and who he will let go. 

Stay tuned here for updates on Coach Macintyre's staff. 

-Christian Backes NFL/NCAA Football Analyst

NFL Featured Game of the Week: Texans at Patriots

Posted by Christian on December 7, 2012 at 5:25 PM Comments comments (0)

This weeks Sports Central game of the week: Texans at Patriots

This week on Monday Night Football the New England Patriots (9-3) will host the Houston Texans (11-1). Houston, who has a two game lead on the rest of the AFC, can prove they are the team to beat this week in New England. The Patriots aren't ready to let that happen, and are looking for a huge win this Monday night. 

These powers each bring a six-game winning streak into Monday nights game in Foxborough, Houston is putting its unbeaten road record on the line against the 2nd place Patriots, who clinched their division last Sunday. 

These teams have only met 3 times before, once in New England, where Houston lost 40-7 in 2006, but the possibility of a new rival is very close to reality with the chance of a more important match up in the playoffs. 

Last year in the franchises first post season appearence, Houston came close to playing the Patriots in the AFC Championship game, but lost to Baltimore in the divisional round. This year quarterback Matt Schaub is healthy, and along with star defensive end J.J. Watt, the Texans have taken another step forward to making it deeper into the playoffs.

Last week the Texans reached thier first double-digit win in franchise history against Tennesee, quarterback Matt Schaub threw a pair of touchdown passes and star defensive end J.J. Watt had two sacks along with his 14th and 15th passes defensed, giving him more than twice as many as any other defensive lineman.

Tom Brady on Watt, "He's an incredible player," Brady said. "He does pretty much everything for them." Patriots coach Bill Belichick joked that they Patriots would be using brooms in practice this past week to simulate Watts long arms.

In the last three weeks Houston has allowed 352.0 passing yards, a troubling issue giving the injuries to Houstons secondary going into Monday nights game with the Patriots explosive passing attack. 

For the Texans Cornerback Brice McCain out and All-Pro Johnathan Joseph day to day after missing the last two games with a hamstring injury. Linebacker Brooks Reed (groin) remains out, although Bradie James (hamstring) may return following a one-game absence. 

For the patriots adjusting to tight end Rob Gronkowski's absence has been tough, and losing wide receiver Julian Edelman for the season last week due to a foot injury did not help the situation. To help pick up the slack the Patriots re-signed receiver Donte' Stallworth on Tuesday.

Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez, though, may also continue to pick up the slack. That duo combined for 20 catches and 200 yards against Miami, and Welker is back on top of the NFL with 92 receptions. 

The last time the Patriots faced Houston, Welker tore his left ACL and MCL in a 34-27 loss in Week 17 of the 2009 season. That game meant little to a New England team that had already clinched the East. Monday's contest is very significant if the Patriots hope to secure a first-round bye and possibly home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

Houston Leaders

Passing: Schaub - 266-413, 3062 yds, 21 tds

Rushing: Foster - 283 car, 1102 yds, 13 tds

Receiving: Johnson - 74 rec, 1114 yds, 3 tds

New England Leaders

Passing: Brady - 298-460, 3537 yds, 25 tds

Rushing: Ridley - 225 car, 1010 yds, 9 tds

Receiving: Welker - 92 rec, 1064 yds, 4 tds

My Score Predicition; Patriots upset Houston 29-23

-Christian Backes 

Butch Jones Accepts Offer To Become Tennessees Next Coach

Posted by Christian on December 7, 2012 at 11:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Cincinnati Head Coach Butch Jones has accepted Tennessees offer to become their next head coach. Earlier this week it looked as if Jones was going to take Colorados offer, but after an initial report by The Denver Post Wednesday that he had accepted a five-year, $13.5 million offer from Colorado, Jones denied the report, and Thursday morning declined Colorados Offer



A six-year contract was finalized with the Volunteers early Friday, Cincinnati said Jones had resigned his position with the Bearcats effective immediately.

The 44-year-old Jones has a 50-27 record in six seasons as a head coach. He went 27-13 in three seasons at Central Michigan and was 23-14 at Cincinnati the last three years. He now faces the task of rebuilding a former Southeastern Conference power.



Jones will succeed Derek Dooley, who was fired Nov. 18 after going 15-21 in three years. Dooley posted a losing record in each of his three seasons at Tennessee. 

-Christian Backes 

Broncos, Raiders Full Game Recap

Posted by Christian on December 6, 2012 at 9:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Thursday night, the Oakland Raiders hosted the Denver Broncos in the second meeting between the two AFC-West Rivals, Denver who won the first meeting between the two teams came into the game on a 7 game winning streak which started when the Broncos came back from a 24-0 second half deficit to win the game 36-24 in week 6 agaist San Diego.  The Raiders came into the game on a 5 game losing streak looking to get a much needed win as their season has seamingly begun to fall apart. 

In the first meeting between the teams the Broncos won 37-6. 

Thursday night the Broncos recieved the ball and preceeded to score on their opening drive when quarterback Peyton Manning threw a 6 yard pass to tight end joal Dreesen for the score with 10:35 left to play in the quarter. (Prater Kick Good)

The second score of the night also came from the Broncos on a 43 yard field goal from kicker Matt Prater with 5:15 left in the quarter. 

The first quarter was dominated by the Broncos as the Raiders only had the ball for 6 minutes seconds. 

As the second quarter began the Broncos scored for a third time on a 34 yard field goal from Matt Prater with 13:42 left to play in the half. 

The Raiders finally got back into the game with 2:06 left to play on a Darren McFadden 6 yard recpetion from quarterback Carson Palmer for the score. (Janikowski kick good) 

As the first half came to a close, it was the Broncos in the lead 13-7. 

The Raiders Stall On their first drive of the second half. 

The Broncos score with 7:31 left in the 3rd quarter on a 20 yard field goal from Matt Prater.

Von Miller forces a fumble (recovered by Unrein) with 6:00 minutes left in the third quarter leads to a Knowshon Moreno 1 yard touchdown run with 5:07 left in third quarter. (Prater kick good)

With :23 seconds to play in the third the Broncos scored again on a 33 yard field goal from Matt Prater. Prater is making the most out of his kicks after struggling the last few weeks. 

After 3 quarters of play the Broncos had a commanding lead over the Raiders (26-7)

The first score in the 4th quarter came on a 56 yard touchdown pass from Carson Palmer to Wide Receiver Darius Heyward-Bay. (2pt conversion no good) 5:36 left to play. 

Final: Broncos 26, Raiders 13

Broncos improve to 10-3, Raiders fall to 3-10

Total Yards 

Broncos: 428 Raiders: 324

Top Performers

Passing: P. Manning (DEN) - 310 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: K. Moreno (DEN) - 32 CAR, 119 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: R. Streater (OAK) - 4 REC, 100 YDS

The Broncos extend their win streak to 8 games and go on too play the Baltimore Ravens next week. Raiders continue losing streak extending it to 6 games going on to play the Kansas City Chiefs. 

Broncos improve to 10-3, Raiders fall to 3-10

TIght End Joel Dreesen celebrates after 6 yard touchdown Reception Thursday Night against the Raiders

Ben Rothlisberger Set To Return Sunday

Posted by Christian on December 6, 2012 at 6:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Ben Rothlisberger is set to return to the starting line-up for the Steelers (7-5) this Sunday after missing three games with a sprained shoulder, and dislocated rib.  

Roethlisberger will play with a custom fit rib/chest compression shirt and a layer of Kevlar-lined composite in his shoulder pads to help absorb hits to his shoulder joint regions. The padding, about a half-inch thick, in Roethlisberger's shoulder pads is similar to the padding in chest protectors for baseball catchers.

"He looks like himself for the most part," offensive coordinator Todd Haley said. "Now I don't know what he's feeling when he's doing some of those things. But it looks like he's moving around pretty good."

The Steelers went 1-2 in Rothlisbergers absence, and are looking for a big win Sunday against the San Diego Chargers to put them back on track to clinch a playoff berth. 

- Christian Backes