Columbus Lions host SIFL championship tonight
In case you haven't read this blog in the past week or picked up a newspaper, the Columbus Lions host the Louisiana Swashbucklers at 6 p.m. tonight for the SIFL championship. For live updates, follow along with me on Twitter at twitter.com/le_chriswhite.
Here's a story from Saturday's paper about the two teams' different playoff histories. Louisiana is going for a fourth consecutive league title while Columbus is trying to make up for three straight seasons of heartache.
And here's a story from today's paper about Lions defensive back and former Shaw and North Alabama star Anthony Merritt (pictured above), who is all about volunteering with kids and encouraging them to work hard at whatever they desire to be when they grow up. It's a very cool story because he was motivated by someone telling him he had better have a backup plan if he intended on trying to be a professional football player, and he made it all the way to a New Orleans Saints training camp in 2007 before an injury made him realize how useful that advice really was. Now he's out there talking about it.
Finally, I'm looking forward to seeing how excited the fans and the players get at tonight's game. Even as an objective sports writer, the drama of a moment isn't lost on me. Whether it's high school, college or pro sports, the emotions surrounding the game are always more interesting than the play-by-play action. Lions coach Jason Gibson told me this week that he was looking at today's matchup like a regular game and almost couldn't believe it was for the title, but my guess is he's been thinking about it more than he will admit. I heard one assistant coach say he had lost a lot of sleep over preparations for it this week, and Merritt told me he and his teammates can't stop thinking about it.
Again, tonight. 6 p.m. At the Civic Center. Lions-Swashbucklers.
Central-Phenix City's Lowe enshrined among college football's greats
Here's a story I d id for Friday's paper about Lowe heading to South Bend, Ind., for the ceremony.
New studies shed light on ACL injuries
I've got a little roundup of interesting injury stories for you today.
For all you parents of young athletes, here's a story about a recent study that shows it may be wise to go ahead and have ACL surgery done early rather than waiting until the kid has matured. From the story:
"Additionally, more than 7,300 tears to the meniscus and 7,800 cartilage tears in children could be avoided each year in the U.S. by early ACL surgery."
Along those same lines, here's a story that cites a study saying that NFL players who chose ACL reconstruction surgery over a quick-fix meniscus repair enjoy similarly long careers as their uninjured teammates. From that story:
"The results illustrated that those individuals with meniscectomy on average reduced the length of their careers by approximately 1.5 years and their games played by 23. Isolated ACL surgery did not significantly reduce the length of years or games played."
And finally, in a story that should surprise no one, here's a study that shows that MLB pitchers are 34 percent more likely to be injured than players at any other position. The only particularly surprising revelation from this study is that most of the pitchers' injuries - an overwhelming 77 percent seem to happen before the all-star break. From the story:
" Pitchers sustained 76.5 percent and fielders sustained 71.7 percent of their total respective injuries prior to the All-Star game. Seventy-nine percent of all shoulder and elbow injuries happened to pitchers before the All-Star game and 74.8 percent of all hamstring, quadriceps, groin and core injuries to fielders happened before the All-Star game."
Midnight Basketball players lend a hand cleaning up Columbus
For those of you getting a bit tired reading about the controversy currently surrounding our parks and rec department, here's some positive news: A group of Midnight Basketball players spent Saturday afternoon helping clean up Columbus (story here).
I have always thought the Midnight Basketball league was a very ingenious way to keep kids out of trouble and give them a positive place to channel their energy, and it's good to see the players are also giving back to the community.
- Chris White