Review Category : National Sports

Michigan Water Boy with Down Syndrome Scores Touchdown for High School Team

iStock/Thinkstock(DETROIT) — A Michigan high school football team came together to surprise their water boy, who has Down syndrome, by setting him up to score a touchdown, his father and the team’s head coach told ABC News.

Robby Heil, a senior at Novi High School, has held the position of “hydration manager” for the school’s football team for four years, his father Chuck Heil said.

Last Friday, the team put Robby in the game and tossed him the ball. As the crowd chanted his name, Robby ran down the field and scored a touchdown. Heil captured the moment on his video camera, while Robby’s mother fell to her knees with joy as she watched from the sidelines.

Heil described his son as “really outgoing” and that “all the players really love him.” The coaches and players, including the opposing team, were in on the surprise, according to Heil.

“[Robby] was practicing during the week. He knew something was up,” Heil said.

Heil said the family was incredibly happy and surprised from all of the support they have received. He noted that the opposing team even gave Robby a jersey that all the teammates had signed.

“I think the sportsmanship is just the amazing part. The other coach could have just said no,” Heil said.

Heil said following the game Robby was “very happy” and “smiling ear-to-ear.”

Head coach Jeff Burnside, who planned the whole event, told ABC News, “Robby is just a great kid, he means a lot to the kids.”

Burnside said he contacted the coach of the other team, who “was immediately all for it.”

“The sportsmanship from both sides was just awesome,” Burnside added. “Their coaches were in tears, our coaches were in tears, their stands also had signs with Robby’s numbers up in the stands.”

Burnside said that he trained Robby all week for the play, treating him as he would any other member of the team.

“I am hoping that everybody can learn from him. I have learned so much from him in the past four years,” Burnside said. “I’ve learned more from him than I’ve probably taught him.”

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Texas Youth Football Coach Busts a Move on the Field

ABCNews.com(BEAUMONT, Texas) — A Texas youth football coach whose pre-game dance routine went viral said he could not resist moving when he heard his fraternity’s song played at the game.

Jermaine Cooper, a coach of the West Beaumont Bulldogs in Beaumont, Texas, was caught on camera by a team parent dancing to “Atomic Dog” by George Clinton during his team’s pre-game warm-up earlier this month.

Cooper said recently on “Good Morning America” that the song is well-known by his fraternity, Omega Psi Phi. When a fellow coach decided to play the song before the game, Cooper could not resist busting a move.

“It wasn’t nothing planned at all,” said Cooper, whose uncle is the team’s head coach and whose nephew plays for the team. “I just went ahead and did what I was always known to do.”

Video of Cooper’s dance has been viewed more than 12,000 times on Instagram.

Cooper said that whenever the song comes on, members of Omega Psi Phi, the first international fraternal organization founded on the campus of a historically black college, according to its website, are expected to do a hop.

“We strive for greatness and so everything that we do, we always want to look good at what we do,” he said. “When that song comes on, every member that’s a member of Omega Psi Phi, we always set out a hop and so that’s all I was doing. I was setting out one of our hops that we do at parties and stuff like that.”

Cooper, in his second year of coaching the team, is known for the innovative ways he motivates the team’s young players. He and his fellow coaches wear shirts that say “I believe. I am. I can. I will” and try to calm the players’ nerves before games.

The team won its game this weekend, 31-12. Cooper, who does something different before each game, gave a motivational speech to his players before the start of their most recent victory.

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Jay Cutler to Undergo Further Tests on Injured Thumb

Allen Kee / ESPN Images(CHICAGO) — Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler will be undergoing more tests on Tuesday following an injury to his thumb Monday night.

“I’m concerned,” Cutler told reporters Monday after his team’s 29-14 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. “As a quarterback, you need your right thumb.”

Cutler, 33, was pulled from the game with just seconds to spare in the third quarter. He said his injury interfered with his ability to grip the ball, leading to him throwing an interception to Eagles linebacker Nigel Bradham.

“I couldn’t get as much on it as I wanted to, to put it over the top of that ‘backer,” Cutler said at the press conference, wearing a cast on his right hand. “It was unfortunate, hurt the team. I knew I was putting the team, especially the offense, in jeopardy at that point. … I knew my day was done.”

The failed throw turned out to be his last play of the game.

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Former NFL QB Tim Tebow Makes Minor League Baseball Debut

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow took the field again Monday, but this time making his minor-league baseball debut.

The 2007 Heisman trophy winner joined the New York Mets for their three-week instructional league at Tradition Field in Port St Lucie, Florida. It’s a training camp that allows young players to develop their skills within a structured environment, something that will benefit Tebow as someone who hasn’t played organized baseball since his junior year in high school.

Typically, a minor league camp wouldn’t garner the attention of reporters and news helicopters, but fans and media flocked to day one of the athlete’s endeavor with the Mets organization. The Mets signed Tebow to a minor league contract earlier this month, according to ESPN.

“The goal is to one day play in the bigs,” Tebow said of the major league at a press conference Monday. “It was definitely a dream of mine when I was a kid.”

Tebow sported his old college number 15 as he took batting practice, fielded and played catch during the first practice among 57 young prospect players. Tebow, 29, was the oldest on the field by four years and two of his fellow Mets hopefuls were just 17.

While hundreds showed up to cheer on the unheralded minor-leaguer in person, others showed support for Tebow online where his jersey sales quickly rose to the number one top-seller on the Mets’ website.

The former Denver Bronco’s first round NFL draft pick made one thing clear after practice in a news conference; that he would not be fielding calls to any NFL teams in need of a quarterback.

“I’m part of the Mets family,” he said. “For me, success is going to be defined by giving it everything I have and being the best I can be.”

The instructional league runs through October. Tebow will play in the league four days per week in order to continue his job as a football analyst with the SEC Network.

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Martin Truex Jr.’s No. 78 Car Again Fails Post-Race Inspection

Hemera/Thinkstock(JOLIET, Ill.) — Martin Truex Jr.’s team may be facing penalties after his No. 78 Toyota failed a post-race inspection following Sunday’s Chase opener at Chicagoland Speedway — a race he won.

Truex’s car twice failed a post-race laser inspection. It’s the second time in as many weekends this has happened to the Furniture Row Racing team.

Furniture Row Racing president Joe Garone released the following statement Monday: “The right rear of our car was well within the tolerance margin, which showed that we were trying to be conservative. However, the left rear wheel alignment was off by approximately ten-thousandths of an inch, which in high probability was due to damage in that area as a result of being hit by the No. 4 car. We believe the laser inspection numbers were correct and accept NASCAR’s decision that was made following Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway.”

Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports also failed a post-race laser inspection at Chicagoland.

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Scoreboard Roundup — 9/19/16

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Here are the latest scores and winners:

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Texas 3, L.A. Angels 2
Houston 4, Oakland 2
Toronto 3, Seattle 2
Kansas City 8, Chi White Sox 3
Boston 5, Baltimore 2

NATIONAL LEAGUE

St. Louis 5, Colorado 3
L.A. Dodgers 2, San Francisco 1
San Diego 3, Arizona 2
Miami 4, Washington 3
Atlanta 7, N-Y Mets 3
Chi Cubs 5, Cincinnati 2

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Philadelphia 29, Chicago 14

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Multiple Philadelphia Eagles Players Protest National Anthem During Monday Night Football Game

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images(PHILADELPHIA) — The Philadelphia Eagles have joined in on growing protests nationwide in which NFL players refuse to stand during the national anthem before the start of football games during the 2016 season.

During a Monday Night Football game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field, multiple Eagles players stood with one fist raised in the air during the anthem. An American flag was held on the field by a local police and two fans in the stands held a sign reading, “Stand up.”

Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said after practice Saturday that he believes there will “definitely” be Philadelphia players who will show their feelings about social injustice prior to kickoff, following San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and other players around the league’s lead, ESPN reported. Jenkins was among the players who raised their firsts.

“Last week, we talked about doing some stuff, but we wanted to make sure that we didn’t do anything to take away from the families that suffered from 9/11,” Jenkins said. “We didn’t want to mess with that day, so we left last week alone. But moving forward, I’m sure there will be guys that will probably join in.”

Jenkins said the protest “has nothing to do with this country or the flag or the anthem itself,” adding that it is a meant to “push forward the conversation about social injustice.”

“That’s a range of things from police brutality to wages and job opportunities, education,” he said. “There’s just a lot of things systematically that have been set up in this country since its inception that put minorities, especially African-Americans, at a disadvantage when you talk about quality of life and actually growing in this country.”

When asked about the possibility of an upcoming protest, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said he respects players’ decisions, ESPN reported.

“Everybody has their right to either protest or whatever they are going to do,” Pederson said, adding that he and Jenkins had talked about the possibility of a gesture. “The biggest thing is I just don’t want it to become a distraction to the rest of the team.”

Pederson also called Jenkins a “class act,” a “great teammate” and a “great leader” who does a lot for the community, according to ESPN.

On Sept. 11, the first Sunday of the regular 2016 season, several NFL players displayed solidarity with Kaepernick by locking their arms, raising their fists or kneeling while the national anthem was played, including players from the Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots, Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers.

A youth football team in Beaumont, Texas, has even vowed to continue protesting the anthem despite receiving death threats.

Kaepernick’s protest first went unnoticed but garnered the attention of the media and the public during a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers. He has said that his protests will continue until this is “significant change” and he feels “like the flag represents what it’s supposed to.”

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Stuntman Eddie Braun ‘Truly Proud’ of Completing Evel Knievel’s Dream Rocket Jump

Courtesy Eddie Braun(SNAKE RIVER CANYON, Idaho) — Hollywood stuntman Eddie Braun is walking on air after successfully launching himself in a rocket over Idaho’s Snake River Canyon in the name of his childhood idol, daredevil Evel Knievel.

Braun self-funded — at a cost of $1.6 million over three years — his dream to take on the challenge that eluded Knievel, who famously failed the attempt over 40 years ago because the parachute deployed prematurely.

In his only interview since he successfully landed the jump on Friday, Braun said he was proud.

“I feel like the no-name, third-string quarterback of a junior-varsity team that just won the Super Bowl,” he said. “My team got me there. I ran it into the end zone. We scored and won.”

Baun’s hefty investment in the stunt paid off when he completed the jump over the massive canyon in a steam-powered rocket bike and parachuted safely near the landing site. Spectators and media from all over the world were watching.

GoPro footage shows Braun inside his rocket, “Evel Spirit,” as he launched 2,000-feet into the air at 400 mph.

The 30-year-old stunt veteran remained calm throughout and gave a proud thumbs-up after he landed the audacious leap. He later acknowledged the strength it took to endure such a challenge.

“Forget the fact that I was scared to death, it just sucked. It hurt, it was so hot. It was uncomfortable,” Braun said post jump.

Once Braun touched down safely on the other side of the canyon, he said the emotions could sink in later, but added: “Right now it’s just — we did it.”

Braun’s success fulfilled his goal to prove Knievel could have made it had the daredevil’s parachute not prematurely deployed.

Now that Braun has lived out his dream, he said, “I’ve got to go get a job tomorrow because I just blew $1.6 million on a rocket. I have no money but, you know what, how do you put a price on something you are truly proud of?”

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Canelo Alvarez Will Not Fight Again in 2016 After Fracturing Thumb

Omar Vega/LatinContent/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Canelo Alvarez will not fight again this year.

The World Boxing Organization junior middleweight champion fractured his right thumb defeating England’s Liam Smith in a knockout victory Saturday night and will have to scrap a fight in December, according to Golden Boy Promotions.

“Canelo’s hand will be immobilized for the next six weeks, and he will be unable to fight again in 2016. This does nothing to Canelo’s plans to move up and take on the best in the middleweight division next year,” a statement from Golden Boy said according to ESPN.

Alvarez was scheduled for a live fight in December at Madison Square Garden in New York. Instead, he’ll fight early next year or wait for a scheduled Cinco de Mayo fight in May.

Plans for boxing’s biggest fight, between Alvarez and unified middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin, are still planned for a year from now.

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Stephen Curry Talks Motivation for New Season

Rick Rowell/ABC(NEW YORK) — Despite his team losing the 2016 NBA championship title to the Cleveland Cavaliers following a nearly perfect season, Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry says he’s ready to get back to work.

Curry, 28, sat down with ABC’s Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts to discuss how he and his fellow teammates would tackle the new NBA season.

One big addition to the Golden State Warriors is NBA powerhouse Kevin Durant, who stunned basketball players and fans alike when he announced earlier this year that he was leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Golden State Warriors.

“You have to be excited about what we could be going for with adding KD [Durant] and our core guys that we have, me, Klay [Thompson], Draymond [Green], Andre [Iguodala], Shaun [Livingston],” Curry told Roberts.

“It’s going to be amazing … It’s not going to be, you know, an easy transition. But, you know, it’s going be something [we’ve] really got to focus on. But looking forward to it,” he said.

Losing the championship “still hurts,” Curry said, but he noted that the loss would provide motivation.

“Having been on the other side … winning a championship, being on, you know, the losing end and knowing what that feels like, there’s no more better fuel to get ready for this year,” he said.

Roberts also chatted with Curry’s wife, Ayesha Curry, about her cookbook, The Seasoned Life, and upcoming cooking show. You can watch the full interview below.

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