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Ainsley Battles Jersey For Sale

BALTIMORE — Four-month-old Ainsley Cardente smiles, enjoys “helicopter” rides from her mom and protests when lunch is late. Perfectly ordinary, all of it. And her life is expected to remain that way thanks to a $2.1 million drug recently infused into her little body by doctors from Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Ainsley was born with a rare genetic disorder called spinal muscular atrophy, or SMA, that kills most babies by age 2. Rarely, there are less severe versions like the one that afflicts Ainsley that lead to a slower but still catastrophic decline.

“She’ll never be in a wheelchair; she’ll never feel like a sick person,” said Kate Cardente, Ainsley’s mother, a physician assistant from the Annapolis suburb of Arnold. “She’ll never remember it.”

But Ainsley almost didn’t get the medicine known as Zolgensma. On the market since May, it’s the nation’s most expensive prescription drug and the Cardentes’ insurer initially refused to cover the cost. So Cardente and her husband, David, fought to get it approved. A letter from Ainsley’s doctor at Johns Hopkins Hospital, a top SMA expert, helped win coverage.

“We have a lot to be thankful for this year,” Cardente said at a Johns Hopkins outpatient center in Dundalk as a line pumped the drug into Ainsley’s foot over about an hour.

But the emotional and potential financial burden is likely familiar to many families without the ability to pay out of pocket for necessary drugs. As more gene therapies and other innovative — and ultra-expensive — treatments are approved in coming years, such challenges are likely to become more common even as they engender hope.

“Ainsley is going to be normal, and, oh my God, that is so great,” said Dr. Tom Crawford, the Hopkins pediatric neurologist who treats Ainsley and every baby with SMA in the region. “This is a new world, but society is going to have to figure out how to pay.”

Congress is grappling now with how to bring down the cost of pharmaceuticals, a principal issue for the late U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings. Drug companies say some of the sky-high costs are due to research and development of novel, life-saving drugs aimed at small numbers of patients. But other older, widely used drugs also have jumped in cost.

In a report last April, Cummings, the Baltimore Democrat who chaired the House Oversight and Reform Committee, highlighted the significant difference in the cost of the diabetes drug insulin in the United States compared with other countries. He said that led some patients to ration their life-saving medication.

Spinal muscular atrophy is a neuromuscular disorder that leads to progressive muscle weakness, paralysis and most often death. It’s caused by the absence of a gene that produces a critical protein needed to preserve motor neurons. Without it, those neurons rapidly die.

AveXis, the Illinois-based biotech company that developed Zolgensma, notes that its cost is lower than the lifetime cost of the other main treatment for the disease, which can exceed $4 million over a decade. Biogen’s Spinraza was approved in 2016 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration but requires regular and costly spinal injections to stem deterioration.

Zolgensma, approved for children under age 2, works by replacing the missing or nonworking gene permanently with one dose.

“AveXis recognizes the burden and emotional toll of SMA and the urgency” for treatment before neurons die, the company said in a statement to The Baltimore Sun.

“Our goal is to support access for patients who need this one-time gene therapy, and we’re pleased each time a child is approved for treatment with Zolgensma,” the statement said. “As a single, one-time intravenous infusion designed to provide long-term benefit, Zolgensma’s price reflects the long-term value it brings to SMA patients, families and the healthcare system.”

The company said 90% of commercial insurance patients and 30% of government-funded Medicaid patients are now covered. Including patients in clinical trials, about 100 children around the country have been treated so far. About 450 to 500 infants in the United States are affected by SMA a year.

The medicine’s stunning price got something of an endorsement recently by the independent watchdog group Institute for Clinical and Economic Review. The group’s analysis determined its cost was “actually fairly aligned with how well the treatment both extends and improves patients’ lives,” said David Whitrap, a spokesman for the institute.

He said Novartis, which acquired AveXis, initially suggested it would price Zolgensma at $4 million but then offered it for the $2.1 million.

“This is a potential cure for an always-fatal childhood disease, and therefore it is precisely the kind of swing-for-the-fences innovation that the U.S. health system should incentivize and reward,” Whitrap said.

He warned, however, the price means patients and their insurers will have to stop paying “far too much for all the other drugs that do far too little for patients.” He also said the market should not wrongly translate its support for Zolgensma’s cost as endorsement of the price for all gene therapies.

That’s the “absolute wrong takeaway” considering 20 new such therapies are expected in the next five years, he said. Each should be evaluated individually.

Ainsley’s insurer initially said she was not sick enough. She is one of the rare SMA cases with four copies of a backup gene that lessens the disease’s severity. Babies with fewer copies generally die quickly, while those with more copies deteriorate more slowly. Ainsley likely would have been in a wheelchair in grade school.

Researchers initially thought those with four gene copies might never develop symptoms and be treated unnecessarily, but Crawford said they now believe that is a “vanishing concern” and the risks of delaying treatment are too high.

Crawford smiled as he watched a staff of nurses and others tend to Ainsley last month. They loaded a large syringe with the drug, which had been delivered by special courier from a manufacturing plant near Chicago in a small box, which was later presented to the Cardentes with a bow.

Ainsley sat on her mother’s lap in a Hopkins-issued onesie unmoved by the momentousness of the day.

Five to eight SMA cases are identified in Maryland a year, and two-thirds of the children would die without treatment. Over the last quarter century, Crawford says he attended dozens of those deaths from what was known as “the most hopeless disease in pediatrics.”

On this day, however, he marveled at no longer being “a hospice doctor.” Beyond a small amount of treatable liver damage, he expects Ainsley to do normal things like go to school and prom and have a career and a family.

She was the second baby for whom Crawford secured approval to treat with Zolgensma, and he is unsure of the battles ahead. He still doesn’t know why Ainsley’s rejection was reversed in December by the insurer, a federal insurance program used by the U.S. Department of Defense, where David Cardente is an auditor.

CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield administers the Federal Employee Program for the government and made the initial decision to decline coverage, as well as the decision to reverse. CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield officials declined to comment for this article.

In addition to the case made by the doctor, the Cardentes turned to others, including the offices of Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, Maryland Health Secretary Robert Neall and The Baltimore Sun.

Frosh’s office offers free consumer services to those with billing and other disputes with health care providers. Sometimes consumers can’t get into a clinical trial or they are denied a transplant. Increasingly, people have disputes over drug coverage.

The Health Education and Advocacy Unit in Frosh’s office works with state insurance regulators and can refer matters for criminal or civil reviews. Agents handle about 2,000 complaints a year, including about 700 appeals. Among those denied treatment, the office claims a 50% rate of reversals, amounting to millions of dollars in covered costs each year.

Kim Cammarata, the unit’s director, said residents have rights in state law and through the federal Affordable Care Act that include insurer appeals and outside reviews.

“No doubt, it can be hard to navigate the system,” she said. “Some issues may seem mundane, but every time you’re dealing with a consumer it’s important. It’s their drug or procedure. In the Cardentes’ case, it saved the baby’s life.”

There are several measures in Congress to address the cost of drugs that have various levels of support. One would allow Medicare, the government health program for seniors, to negotiate drug prices. One from Van Hollen, called the “We Paid Act,” would limit prices of drugs that were based on federally funded research.

A study published last year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that all 210 FDA-approved drugs from 2010 to 2016 were based on taxpayer-backed discoveries. Such a law might have applied to Zolgensma because the drug company researchers received millions in federal grants as well as charitable donations, according to KEI, a nonprofit that tracks funding.

It’s unclear whether any measure might pass Congress and be signed by President Donald Trump, but Van Hollen said it’s imperative given how many families face high prescription drug costs.

“Whether it’s a daily need like insulin or a specialized treatment like what the Cardente family required, American families should be able to afford the medicines they depend on,” the Democrat said.

Dr. Margaret Moon is chief medical officer for the Hopkins Children’s Center and on the faculty at the Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. She said there are questions about how society should pay for expensive treatments and health care generally.

“People are freaked out about spending $2 million to save one child’s life, but think of all the money spent at the end of a life when the body has shut down,” she said. “We allow health care in this country to be outrageously expensive.”

Americans have decided as a society they do not want to ration health care, she said. But not everyone can pay, and there aren’t always government or charitable programs to cover costs, even when the treatments are life-saving, like chemotherapy, she said.

Physicians and administrators at Hopkins spend a lot of time deciding how to provide as much care as possible to patients without exposing the hospital to too much risk that it won’t be reimbursed, Moon said. When Spinraza was approved for SMA, for example, the hospital would ask the drugmaker to supply a first dose to a child as they worked out insurance payments for more. That wasn’t possible with the one-dose, $2 million Zolgensma.

Medical advances continually push the hospital to find ways to cover the costs, she said.

“Sometimes we’re stuck with unanswerable questions,” Moon said.

Ainsley is doing well now, even rolling over from back to front and sometimes front to back. The Cardentes said they’d like to figure out a way to help other families. Kate Cardente said that might mean just telling them how they advocated for Ainsley.

“There really isn’t a blueprint for the next family,” she said. “I’m just so glad we got our miracle day.”

Steve Baack Jersey For Sale

The University of Oregon Ducks struggled in the early 1980’s under head coach Rich Brooks. They suffered through 2-9 seasons and even had a game in 1983 that became infamously known as the Toilet Bowl, the last 0-0 scoreless tie in NCAA history. Despite their struggles, the Ducks had several players that were able to make it to the NFL. was fortunate enough to speak with Steve Baack last week about his time at Oregon under Brooks, his time in the NFL and what he’s doing now. Here’s what he had to say:


ANSWER: I grew up in John Day in Eastern Oregon. I didn’t really have anyone beating the door down to recruit me. Mouse Davis at Portland State was the only one who really tried to recruit me and discovered me so to speak. Then at the very last minute, Rich Brooks offered me a scholarship at Oregon.

No. 39 Steve Baack
Steve Dykes



A. Well, because it was Oregon. I liked Eugene better than Portland area. It was also the Pac-10 back then. It was really a no-brainer for me.


A. Well, coming from a high school of 300 kids in four grades, the enormity of the stadium was a big difference. Even though it wasn’t what it is now, in terms of attendance, I was awestruck to some degree by the size of the stadium and the amount of people in attendance.


A. As a freshman coming in, I kind of tiptoed around until I could figure out who the established veterans were. The freshman class, as I remember it, was more trying to figure out who each other were rather than trying to integrate themselves with who was already there. There was good chemistry and I made some new friends. You get to hear stories from guys who came from across the country and traveled a long ways to get there. Most of them had never heard of where I was from in Eastern Oregon, so we had a lot to talk about.


A. Believe it or not, it was actually in a spring practice and not in a game. I was a redshirt freshman and we were all trying to establish ourselves as players. There was a stud running back, Vince Williams, and I was playing middle linebacker. We ran the 4-3 Dallas Cowboys flex defense back then and the offense ran a trap play with him running the ball up the middle. I read it perfectly and I just blew into the hole and I crushed the guy.

The whole defense just erupted, started hollering and screaming and it was a loud crack. It was actually written up in the Register Guard. Right after the play, coach Brooks came running up to me and grabs me by both shoulders. He shook me and looked me right in the eyes and yelled, “THAT IS THE WAY YOU FILL THE TRAP!” So it wasn’t a game so much as it was that particular spring practice.


A. You just have to pinch yourself. I think we had one winning season in my five years, having that extra year as a redshirt freshman. There was talk at the time that maybe we didn’t even belong in the Pac-10 and that we were the door mats year after year. I found it humorous the other day when I dug out one of my team pictures and it said on the bottom: First winning season in nine years, fifth straight win over OSU. That’s all we really had to hang our hats on back then. It wasn’t easy.


Steve Baack, ready to roll.
Steve Dykes


A. For sure. To be able to say you played for Oregon in the past, you get to share in their current success. The fans that have been around since the days I played, remember that there wasn’t a lot of victories that were memorable, but a lot of difficulties. One of the toughest was the Toilet Bowl against Oregon State. So, to see them doing so well is awesome.


A. I would thrive. When I played in a flex defense as a defensive end, I had very strict gap responsibilities. We weren’t given the green light to just cut loose like Dion Jordan a few years back and Tony Washington. Now, the way that they turn the defensive ends loose and are aggressive at going after the quarterback, it would have really suited my style of play. If I could have done that, I would have had a ball.


A. It was great. It does take a while to get acclimated to the rigors of maintaining the grades. Then when you include practice, getting taped and so forth is a lot of work. Coach Brooks was always emphasizing heavily the need to make sure that we pulled grades. It certainly wasn’t like it is today, with all the resources that they have. It was a lot of work, but a great experience.


A. It’s like what I said about stepping on the field for the first time there. The enormity of it all and all the fans was an incredible experience. We didn’t have nearly as many fans at the games as they do now. It was loud and when coming from a small Eastern Oregon town of 2,000 people, it made it totally different experiencing over 35,000 fans.


A. After a couple of years, I had my counselors take a look at my transcripts and where my strength of study was and they suggested psychology. I found myself fascinated by the biochemistry of the brain and that has a lot to do with psychology. I like to joke that I was a psychology major because that’s four years of multiple choice tests, so that was a nice smooth path.


A. The level of responsibility that you have to assume for yourself was bigger and you couldn’t make any excuses. Coming from a small school, the change was a lot of work. However, I managed to get through it alright.


A. Well, when it came to the draft, I couldn’t pick where I wanted to play. The Detroit Lions may not have been my first choice, but I made the most of the opportunity. Things are faster, a lot bigger and have a lot more significance in the NFL. You’re being paid to do a job and have a lot of responsibility. Being late for a team meeting, for example, would cost you a $1,000 back then. It’s a lot more now because they make more money.


A. I was drafted in 1984 in the third round. I had five credited seasons with them. I played five years and had three head coaching changes. My body felt it even after that short of a time period. I made a position change during that time as well, which was difficult. The “Fridge” was doing his thing in Chicago and everyone else was looking for players that were big and athletic enough to play fullback or tight end. Learning how to pass block in the NFL, after never doing it, was a hard transition.


A. Oh, easily playing against the Bears. Playing against guys like Jim McMahon, Richard Dent and Walter Payton. I tackled Payton on the goal line in Chicago at Soldier Field. It made the 1986 Lions Highlight Film and having Darryl Rogers call me the best short yardage player he had ever seen made me feel great.


A. I live back out in Eastern Oregon, in Moro, with my fiancée Debra. I work in sales out of my home as my full time job. We established a bed and breakfast out here called The Craftsman Inn Moro. It’s a beautiful 1917 home that’s been fully restored. We have some venues that we pull from. There’s a race track out here in Grass Valley and we also have the Maryhill Winery close by.


A. I would like to say thank you for your continued support of the team; especially the fans that were around during the lean years and stuck around to share the success that they are having now.


What was the team Nickname for you? Baackman

Best thing about your time with Oregon football? Never losing to the Beavers

Who do you think were the best players on the team during your time with the Ducks? Bryan Hinkle, Mike Walter and Steve Brown.

Toughest opponent (player) you faced while at Oregon? Bruce Matthews at USC

Toughest opponent (Team) you faced while at Oregon? Washington

Teammate or mates that you learned the most from? Scott Shepard

Did you have a pregame ritual? Listening to music.

Favorite game? Beating the Huskies 34-10 when they were ranked No. 13.

Team loss that you could turn to victory? The 0-0 tie against the Beavers.

Favorite U of O athlete for all time? Mac Wilkins

You can’t live without? Being able to work out.

Family? A son Brian (26) and daughter Lexi (19)

Q. Anything you would like to add?

A. With the interest and fan base that the Ducks now have, it’s nice to see all of the sites pop up, to be able to keep up with recruiting and news. I like what Charles Fischer has done with helping the average fan by breaking down plays for those who don’t understand exactly what it takes. I really like what FishDuck has done.

Howard Twilley Jersey For Sale

The University of Tulsa has a proud football history. The Golden Hurricane was nationally relevant in the 1940s and the 1960s, and TU occasionally still rears its head to remind the nation that there are more than two major-college teams in Oklahoma.

OSU plays at Tulsa on Saturday, and here’s a primer on TU football history:

Conference titles: Steve Kragthorpe’s 2005 team and Bill Blankenship’s 2012 team each won Conference USA, beating Central Florida in title games. Tulsa also won 19 outright Missouri Valley championships and tied for six others. Tulsa was in the Oklahoma Collegiate Conference from 1914-28 and won five titles, and Tulsa was in the Big Four Conference from 1929-32, winning the league all four years. Tulsa played in the Valley from 1935-85, then was an independent until joining the Western Athletic Conference in 1996. In 2005, TU jumped to Conference USA, then joined the American Conference in 2014.

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Article: 3-2-1 Kickoff: Key players, big questions for OSU at Tulsa
Bowl history: Tulsa played in three straight major bowl games, 1942-44 seasons, and bookended those with the Sun Bowl (1941) and the Oil Bowl (1945). Tulsa lost to Tennessee 14-7 and Georgia Tech 20-18 in back-to-back Sugars but beat Georgia Tech 26-12 in the Orange Bowl (1944 season). TU is 10-11 in bowl games. Tulsa is 6-4 in bowls in the 2000s, with some notable results – victories of 55-10 over Central Michigan (2016 Miami Beach Bowl), 31-17 over Iowa State (2012 Liberty), 62-35 over Hawaii (Hawaii Bowl), 45-13 over Ball State (GMAC Bowl) and 63-7 over Bowling Green (GMAC), plus losses of 55-52 to Virginia Tech (Independence) and 24-21 to Brigham Young (24-21).

Best team: 1942. It was the World War II era, but in ’42, many players remained on college campuses. College football really became depleted starting in 1943. In 1942, Tulsa shut out its first six opponents and finished 10-0 before losing to Tennessee in the Sugar Bowl. The Glenn Dobbs-led team beat OU 23-0 and Oklahoma A&M 34-6.

Greatest player: TU has had three consensus all-Americans – center Rudy Prochaska in 1934, receiver Howard Twilley in 1965 and offensive lineman Jerry Ostroski in 1991 – but its greatest player was Glenn Dobbs. The single-wing tailback from Frederick was a passer and punter extraordinaire. He later became TU’s head coach.

Arch-rival: OSU. Saturday, the Cowboys become Tulsa’s most-played rival. TU has played Arkansas 73 times, but trails the series 54-16-3. The Golden Hurricane and the Razorbacks have played just four times since 1993. This will be the 74th meeting between OSU and Tulsa. The Cowboys lead the series 41-27-5. The rivalry has taken extended breaks; no games between 1965 and 1976, only four games since 2000, but counting Saturday, they play 11 of the next 13 years.

Greatest win: On October 30, 2010, Tulsa won 28-27 at Notre Dame. Shawn Jackson returned an interception 66 yards for a touchdown, Damarius Johnson returned a punt 59 yards for a touchdown, Kevin Fitzpatrick kicked a go-ahead field goal with 3:23 left in the game and John Flanders intercepted a Fighting Irish pass in the end zone with 36 seconds left in the game. Tulsa has beaten OU five times, but beating Notre Dame tops them all.

Greatest coach: Henry Frnka went 40-9-1 in five seasons, 1941-45, before leaving to coach Tulane.

NFL legacy: Pro Football Hall of Famer Steve Largent played at Tulsa in the 1970s, as did Drew Pearson, the leading receiver for Tom Landry’s 30 years as the Dallas Cowboys coach. Hall of Fame general manager Jim Finks also played at TU.

Biggest upset: Tulsa shocked 15th-ranked Texas A&M 35-34 in 1991, but TU’s biggest shocker came on September 25, 1971, when the Hurricane beat seventh-ranked Arkansas 21-20 after entering the fourth quarter trailing 20-0. That was not a great TU team; it finished 4-7. But quarterback Todd Starks threw three fourth-quarter touchdown passes, outdueling Razorback star Joe Ferguson.

Stadium: Skelly Stadium opened in 1930 and had a capacity of 40,385. A major renovation in 2008 came with the rebranding to H.A. Chapman Stadium and reduced capacity to 30,000.

Historical importance: TU was on the cutting edge of the passing revolution almost 60 years ago. Tulsa led the nation in passing for five straight years, 1960-64, and in ’64 quarterback Jerry Rhome and receiver Howard Twilley led a unit that broke 20 NCAA records. Rhome and Twilley were back-to-back Heisman runnersup, in 1964-65.

Career rushing leaders: D’Angelo Brewer, 2014-17, has the TU record, with 3,917 rushing yards. The most impressive Tulsa rushers, though, were Michael Gunter and Len Lacy, who were teammates from 1980-82, with Lacy also playing in 1979 and Gunter in 1983. Gunter finished with 3,536 rushing yards, third all-time, and Lacy had 2,272 rushing yards, seventh all-time.

Career passing leaders: Of all the big-time throwers in Tulsa history – Rhome and Billy Guy Anderson in the ‘60s, Jeb Blount in the ‘70s, T.J. Rubley in the ‘80s-‘90s, Gus Frerotte in the ‘90s – the career passing leader is Dane Evans, who played four years, 2013-16, and threw for 11,680 yards.

(Story continued below…)
Career receiving yards: 54 years after Twilley’s final season, he remains the all-time TU leader in catches (261), receiving yards (3,343) and touchdown catches (32).

Famous alum: Susan Eloise Hinton, whose pen name is S.E. Hinton, became renowned for her young-adult novels like The Outsiders and That Was Then, This Is Now. Hinton wrote The Outsiders as a high school student in Tulsa.

David Bruton Jersey For Sale

AURORA, Colo — Nearly every NFL player will tell you about the dream that began in childhood.

Not many will tell you about the dream of playing football and then going into the medical field — but David Bruton Jr. will.

“It’s something I loved being around as a kid,” Bruton said. “Getting PT on my hip flexors and just building that relationship with the physical therapist because you see them day in day out.”

Bruton is part of the class of 2021, pursuing a doctorate degree in physical therapy at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. His next dream is to graduate and open a clinic with a focus on youth concussion recovery.

Once a pre-med student at Notre Dame University, Bruton changed his major to political science and sociology, then he was drafted by the Denver Broncos.

As a strong safety and captain of special teams, Bruton enjoyed a lot of success and a Super Bowl victory. He also suffered a dislocated shoulder, a broken leg, broken ribs and a few concussions. After several years in the league, he knew when it was time to move on.

“Football’s given me the chance to provide for my family, continue to play the game I love and learn things that I can take into the next profession and help other people outside the family,” Bruton said.

Bruton is looking forward to achieving this dream. While he loved playing football at the highest level, he believes the reward will be greater in this next career, where he can help others get back to functioning at a high level to improve their own lives.

Assistant Professor Amy McDevitt considers him the ideal student because of his intellectual abilities and his previous life experience in the NFL.

“Before he was the patient and he was receiving the treatment, receiving the therapy,” McDevitt said. “And now he really gets to exercise his mind and apply his anatomy and apply his communication skills.”

In many ways, the current chapter of David Bruton, Jr.’s, life runs counter to his first career as a strong safety and Super Bowl 50 winner in the National Football League.

Where he once suited up in raucous NFL stadiums, Bruton now practices massage techniques in serene settings. Where he played a violent game on rapid-fire instinct, he now takes a thoughtful, analytical approach to evaluating the varying needs of each individual. Where his former employer, the Denver Broncos, expected him to dish out punishment, Bruton’s new mission is to become a licensed physical therapist so he can relieve pain and help young athletes get back in the game.

Bruton spent two years completing prerequisites at CU Denver and is now in the second semester of the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program in the CU School of Medicine. The 32-year-old Ohio native played for the Denver Broncos and a final season with the Washington Redskins; the eight-year span was four times longer than the average NFL career.

David Bruton talking with a classmate

David Bruton enjoys a conversation with a classmate while eating lunch at the start of one of his physical therapy courses in Education 2.
“The NFL stands for Not For Long, so I definitely had a good run at it,” said Bruton, who played collegiately at Notre Dame. “I know in the grand scheme of things, life is a lot more than just between the lines on a football field. I have my family, my dreams and aspirations. Now I’m on to the next chapter.”

‘Seeing what his body has gone through’
Bruton frequently volunteers to be the “patient” in class or lab – offering up his shoulders or triceps for exam and evaluation, for example.

Michael “Mac” Mundie, a longtime classmate of Bruton’s, enjoys having the former pro athlete in the 69-member PT cohort. “It’s definitely interesting working with him – just seeing what his body has gone through in all those years with the Broncos. It makes labs more interesting,” he said.

Bruton sat down with CU Anschutz Today for an interview in Education 2, his home away from home these days.

Today: Your physical therapy program at CU Anschutz is a departure from playing football. Did you have a turning point where you realized you wanted to retire from pro football and pursue a new career?

DB: In high school, I thought about becoming a physical therapist. Having multiple encounters with different PTs throughout my football career … kind of drove it home. I definitely had my share of concussions … I don’t remember having them at all. The last concussion (with the Redskins) was definitely like an ‘a-ha’ moment. I realized I have so much more to look forward to … and I didn’t want to worry about hurting myself to the point where I couldn’t pursue another career.

Johnny Clement Jersey For Sale

WINDERMERE, Fla. – UCF men’s coach Bryce Wallor crunched the numbers Monday evening before Tuesday’s final round of the Tavistock Collegiate Invitational and was blown away by his team’s performance on the greens.

The four counting Knights holed more than 800 feet of putts in Round 2 as UCF, the No. 72-ranked team in Golfstat entering the week, led a star-studded field by 17 shots through two rounds at Isleworth.

“Out of this world,” Wallor said. “… Those putters were red hot.”

Not even a fiery Isleworth, some diabolical pins and a challenging pack that included undefeated Texas Tech could cool off the Knights. UCF closed in 1 over Tuesday, but it was more than enough to win by 14 shots over runner-up LSU. The victory marked the first for UCF at its home tournament.

Full-field scores from the Tavistock Collegiate Invitational

The Knights, who finished at 20 under and led the field with 57 birdies, were led by sophomore Johnny Travale, who carded seven of his tournament-leading 17 birdies in a final-round, 6-under 66. He needed to make a 5-footer for bogey at the par-4 finishing hole Tuesday to finish at 12 under, a shot clear of LSU’s Trey Winstead.

Wallor called Travale, who transferred from Kent State this year, a “game-changer for our program” and said the sophomore is a mainstay at the team’s practice facility at Twin Rivers Golf Club in nearby Oviedo. “He’s always there,” Wallor said. For Travale, he’s just enjoying the practice-friendly weather.

“I’m really happy where I’m at,” said Travale, who was joined in the top 10 at Tavistock by fellow sophomore Clement Charmasson, who tied for seventh.

The Knights are glad to be back in the Sunshine State, as well. UCF played its first three events of the fall in Michigan, Connecticut and Nebraska, winning just one of them.

Tuesday’s victory wasn’t just the biggest win of the young season, it arguably was the most notable regular-season title in school history.

UCF was 19 shots better than Vanderbilt, 20 clear of Texas Tech, 22 ahead of eighth-ranked Arizona State and 27 lower than preseason No. 1 Texas.

“This was a big one for our guys,” said Wallor, whose team will close the fall next week at the AAC’s preview tournament at Innisbrook. “We’re a very young team. … I think when they came in here this week, they looked around and a few guys commented, ‘I never beat that guy in junior golf,’ and they have now, so they’re going to build some confidence from this. They know they can do it, and we’re just going to go out and get to work.”

Derrick Witherspoon Jersey For Sale

Mouse spent more than 15 years on patrol near inmates on work details for the Arkansas Department of Correction’s Tucker Unit, but on Saturday, she got to retire.

Mouse weighs about 1,025 pounds, stands 4-foot-7 at the withers and is one of 33 horses that the Department of Correction sold Saturday at the eighth annual Good Homes for Good Horses auction held at the Saline County Fairgrounds. The department breeds and raises its own horses to be strong, temperate mounts for inmates and officers to ride.

Saturday afternoon, a man in a white jumpsuit — one of the many inmates who care for the horses — trotted Mouse in an arena where more than 200 people were watching. For other horses, bids flew in faster than even professional auctioneer and former state Rep. Mark McElroy could count.

But for Mouse, only one person rose to his feet and signaled his bid — a little boy no older than 5.

“That’s what we like to see,” said Tom Green, horse program coordinator and emcee for the auction. “That’s what it’s all about.”

The horses, Green said, are mostly older animals who have served for years in some capacity for the department.

Some horses go out chasing escapees with the hounds, but most spend their days herding cattle, patrolling work units or working on one of the department’s many farms.

The Arkansas Department of Correction’s Agriculture Division’s work covers more than 20,000 acres across the state, spokesman Solomon Graves said. On those lands are crop fields, gardens, cows, pigs, chickens and, of course, horses.

The horses serve many purposes, livestock manager Jason Martin said, but one of their primary services is inmate rehabilitation.

Class 1B inmates — those who have proved that they are not flight risks or a danger to anyone around them — can sometimes work with the horses eight hours a day, Martin said. The bond that inmates form with the animals, he said, is extraordinary.

“If there are issues going on in your life, you have to drop them,” Martin said. “You have to make peace with yourself if you’re going to work on an animal that size.”

Derrick Witherspoon, who was released from prison about six months ago after serving a 17-year sentence, agreed.

“There’s nothing like the bond that you have with that animal,” said Witherspoon, whom correction administrators affectionately called “Spoons.”

“When you’re working with cows, you have to trust that that horse is going to protect you. You have to trust that it’s going to do what you say. It’s really incredible.”

Spoons, who was 17 when he was sentenced to 40 years in prison on a charge of capital murder, said his time working on the farm helped him turn his life around. He now works for a pipe production company and shoes horses on the side.

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“It’s had a tremendous effect on my life,” he said. “I’ve developed an affinity for them. I think it’s the calmness and peace you feel with them.”

One day, he said, he wants to buy his own horse again.

“There’s something about the outside of a horse that’s good for the inside of a man,” said Green, quoting Winston Churchill.

Wendy Kelley, director of the Arkansas Department of Correction, said working with the horses is therapeutic, but also helps the inmates learn responsibility and patience.

“It’s good, healthy, outdoor work,” Kelley said. “And the inmates really learn to care about the horses.”

Prison systems have used mounted officers for centuries, but Arkansas’ did not start breeding its own horses until the late 1980s, according to Earl Pepper.

Pepper, who started the breeding program around 1987, said it was difficult and expensive to find horses that were gentle but strong enough for hard work. So, Pepper suggested that the department begin breeding its own horses — and officials agreed.

Pepper stood near the arena Saturday afternoon as he mingled with the horses. All of this, Farm Administrator Davey Farabough said, was Pepper’s doing.

The auctions didn’t begin until 2011, when Green suggested to Mary Parker-Reed that instead of selling the horses at a local sale barn, the department should hold an annual auction.

The purpose of the auction, he said, is to ensure that each horse goes to a good home.

Green said Parker-Reed, Arkansas Board of Correction vice chairman, thought for a moment before saying, “You’re right. We should.”

“She did all the work,” Green said. “We’re very thankful for that.”

A few weeks after that conversation, the department held its inaugural auction. Since then, Green said, the event has grown to include horses from the Little Rock Police Department’s mounted division.

Double Deuce, a 20-year-old sorrel, is among the longest-serving horses in the Little Rock Police Department’s mounted division. Double Deuce served at 13 state fairs, 12 Riverfests, and at least 250 school and public demonstrations.

On Saturday, Double Deuce was loaded into a trailer headed for Texas, where he will spend his days in a therapeutic riding program.

“This is all about finding them a good home,” Farabough said. “They do a lot of good work, and they deserve that.”

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Brad Ford has spent a lot of his adult life giving back to youngsters trying to get into football. A 1992 graduate of Dadeville who then went on to play for the University of Alabama and the Detroit Lions, Ford has wanted to bring his football camps home to the Tigers for a few years now after witnessing a local child in need.

“Two years ago, I went to a peewee football game and saw a child with no cleats,” Ford said. “The other children were playing and picking at him. Then I saw him a couple months after that. I asked him if he was still playing football, and he told me he wasn’t playing anymore. He said he was just going to concentrate on basketball, but I knew the reason why.

“I said then if I could ever help a kid out who wants to play, I want to do that.”

Ford has been putting on youth football camps around the state and even in Georgia for years, but next weekend, he’ll be coming back to his alma mater. Dadeville will play host to the Brad Ford 11 Football Camp on June 8, and it’s open to any players ages 8 through 17.

Registration is $20, and the camps will last from 8:45 a.m. until noon. Pre-registration can be done before June 8 or kids can register from 8 to 8:45 a.m. at the Dadeville gym.

All proceeds will be donated to the Dadeville Dixie Youth League, and Ford said his goal is to have at least 60 to 100 kids.

Ford isn’t the only former professional football player who will be coaching players at next week’s camp.

Others who will be coaching are: Sherman Williams (Alabama, Dallas Cowboys); David Palmer (Alabama, Minnesota Vikings); Roosevelt Patterson (Alabama, CFL); Pierre Goode (Alabama); Brent Dearmon (Auburn); Lionel James (Auburn, San Diego Chargers); Mike Goggans (Auburn); Eltoro Freeman (Auburn); Rodney Crayton (Auburn); Kevin Moore (Alabama); Dameian Jeffries (Alabama, New Orleans Saints); Toderick Malone (Alabama, New Orleans Saints); as well as possibly a few others. Current Dadeville boys basketball coach Jesse Foster will also be coaching.

Ford said current Tide linebacker Anfernee Jennings should be in attendance but won’t be able to coach due to his limitations with the University of Alabama.

“A lot of the guys when I went to the University of Alabama, I met them and played with them,” Ford said. “I’ve also been to football camps with the guys from Auburn, and we just had a bond and became friends.”

Fundamentals will be a main focus during Ford’s camp.

“If we have enough kids, we’ll try to separate them by position and let the guys who played the game coach them with certain things they need to be coached on,” Ford said. “We don’t want to take anything away from their high school coaches or the little league coaches, but I know they can use some of the things we’ll teach them to do on their own when they’re not doing organized activities for their football teams.”

Speed, agility, footwork and hand placements will all be taught.

Although football is of course the main focus, Ford said he also wants to teach the kids about hard work and doing the right thing. At the end of the camp, three of the coaches will speak about their experiences with football, and Ford hopes he and the other former players can be role models both on and off the field.

“I try to be more than just a role model on the football field,” Ford said. “Football is just something you play. If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change anything because everything I did, I learned from. But it was rough. If you wanna get to the next level, you have to put the work in. Just dream big, and I always tell the kids to trust God first, put your heart and mind into it and anything’s possible.”

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Welcome to the second season of Whitman, Alabama, the acclaimed video series created by journalist and filmmaker Jennifer Crandall.

The series — which bring to life one of America’s most iconic poems — is the product of the first artist-in-residency in an American newsroom, and has caught the attention of scholars, museums and documentary filmmaking organizations across the world. Earlier this month the series was named “Best Use of Online Video” in the North American Digital Media Awards, beating out two other finalists from the New York Times. The project, launched at the time of the presidential inauguration in 2017, attempts to bring Alabamians together with one another — and the rest of the world — through the words of Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself, first published in 1855.

The poem centers around one big idea, made even bigger in today’s polarized world: Everyone is an individual; everyone is connected; we all contain many selves,” … “For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.”

We invite you to explore this first installment, and to dive back into our archive at

When you live on an 8-acre family farm with more than two hundred animals like the Akins do, everybody has a job.

Fayth, the Akins’ oldest daughter, was 18 when we shot the video. Now she’s almost 21, in the Army, stationed at Fort Bragg, working as a human resource clerk.

In high school, Fayth had a packed schedule: school, ROTC, soccer practice, homework, then taking care of the animals. And she had to get her jobs at home done before she could go out on the weekends, too. At one point, she told her parents, Bill and Susan Akins, she was done.

“I quit on them,” Fayth says. “I went two or three weeks not taking care of the animals.”

Her parents said okay. Fayth could give up her farm duties, but she also had to give up driving — that was the deal.

A few weeks went by, and Fayth came back to her parents. “Okay I messed up,” she told them. “Y’all are teaching us.”

At that time, maybe it had to do with getting driving privileges back, but now, she sees the value in the hard work on the farm.

“It was a really great experience that I had,” Fayth says. “It taught you responsibility.”

Fayth’s younger brother Nick, now 19, also has joined the Army. He left for basic training in Fort Jackson, SC, this past June. All his work, growing up on the farm, turned out to benefit him, too.

“My dad and I were unloading three tons of feed every month,” he says.

Fayth confirms this. “He really was! Every time we would get feed, he would take the barrel out of the truck and put two 50-pound bags on each shoulder.”

And basic training compared to that?

“I thought it was easy,” Nick says.

Now he’s in advanced individual training in Ft. Lee, Virginia, training to be a wheeled vehicle mechanic.

Amber, 13, has taken up many of the chores since Fayth and Nick have left. She takes care of the chickens (more than 200). She takes care of the rabbits. She collects eggs, resulting in her least favorite task.

“Washing the eggs,” Amber says. “It’s boring.”

“And sometimes they’re covered in chicken poop,” Fayth adds.

Many 13-year-olds (and adults) might not be too thrilled with this task. But it has its upsides. Amber’s not easily grossed out.

“I dissected a bullfrog last year,” she says. “I dissected three frogs and a cat.”

And she knows what she wants to be when she grows up.

“Forensic coroner!” she says. “Because I get to find out how the person died and it seems fun.”

Cassie is 17. She used to be non-verbal and has been diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. We were really taken by her reading for this project.

“Cassie’s got a lot going on,” says her mother Susan. “She finally got where she was talking. She’s a really special American kind of girl.”

Her job is to fill up the water containers. With 5 cows, 2 donkeys, 3 rabbits, 200 odd chickens, 3 dogs, 2 cats, and 2 fish tanks, that’s no small feat.

“I like to fill [the containers] up,” Cassie says. “My favorite animal is the rabbits.”

Life on the farm does have its hazards as we learned that day of filming.

Fayth says that Cassie was walking one day through the pasture, with her head down, and she ran right into an electric fence, the wire zapping her on her forehead. Her brothers and sisters were trying to keep her from crying, and they ran to get her a popsicle.

“She had a line across her forehead for a good while,” Fayth says.

While we were filming we had the electric fence turned off to film safely but, later on in the day, the electricity had been turned back on. I forgot. I can now tell you what 5000-7000 volts feels like running through your body. Fun times. Also, a cow head-butted me. Possibly on purpose.

Either way, it was a good day. Fayth, Nick, Amber and Cassie shared so much for us.

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GigEm247 has learned that North Carolina tight ends’ coach Tim Brewster has informed Texas A&M that he will be staying at North Carolina.

Brewster had previously been the Aggies’ tight ends’ coach in 2018 before going to the ACC and UNC head coach Mack Brown (Brewster had previously worked for Brown at Texas). The Aggies and head coach Jimbo Fisher are attempting to fill the shoes of the departed Joe Jon Finley who left A&M for Ole Miss. While at A&M, Brewster helped develop eventual third round draft pick Jace Sternberger from an unknown junior college transfer into a consensus All American with 48 receptions for 832 yards and 10 touchdowns.

An accomplished recruiter, Brewster helped Fisher land top ten classes at both Aggieland and Florida State. The Aggies’ had a top five class in 2019 per the 247 Sports Composite including five star rated tight end Baylor Cupp. In addition, before his departure for Chapel Hill, Brewster gifted the Aggies Jalen Wydermyer who didn’t arrive on campus until the summer but was considered the best freshman tight end in the SEC last season with 32 receptions.

Brewster helped build the Seminoles’ top-ranked 2016 recruiting class, which featured 18 four- or five-star rated players as well as 13 Under Armour All-Americans and four U.S. Army All-Americans. Brewster helped the Seminoles’ recruiting classes rank in the top 10 of ESPN’s team rankings all five years he was on the FSU staff, including in the top five four times. Brewster was named the ACC’s Top Recruiter by ESPN and made 247Sports’ Top 10 Recruiters list and was among Rivals’ Top 25 Recruiters.

Florida State made the tight end an integral part of their offense during Brewster’s time in Tallahassee. Current NFL standout Nick O’Leary was a two-time finalist for the John Mackey Award, which is given annually to the nation’s top tight end, and he won the award in 2014, as well as consensus All-America honors. Overall, O’Leary left Florida State as the school leader in every category among Seminole tight ends, including receptions (114), yards (1,591) and touchdowns (18).

Brewster was the tight ends coach for the San Diego Chargers from 2002-04 and the Denver Broncos from 2005-06 after coaching that same position at North Carolina from 1989-97 and Texas from 1998-2001. Brewster coached All-Pro tight end Antonio Gates while with the Chargers and saw six tight ends sign NFL contracts during his UNC and Texas tenures.

Brewster joined the Florida State coaching staff in February of 2013 following a stint in 2012 as the wide receivers coach at Mississippi State where he helped the Bulldogs break several records.

Brewster was the head coach of the Minnesota Golden Gophers from 2007-2010 before spending the 2011 season as a college football analyst for Fox Sports. He led the Golden Gophers to the Insight Bowl in both 2008 and 2009.

Prior to Minnesota, Brewster spent five seasons in the NFL. He concluded his second season as tight ends coach for the Denver Broncos in 2006. Brewster instructed the San Diego Chargers tight ends from 2002-04 and held additional responsibilities as the team’s assistant head coach for the 2004 season.

During his tenure with the Chargers, Brewster oversaw the rapid development of Gates, who in 2004 earned first-team All-Pro honors from the Associated Press and a Pro Bowl selection after playing only his second year of football since high school. Gates set an NFL single-season touchdown record (13) for tight ends in 2004 while ranking third in receiving yards (964) and fourth in receptions (81) among NFL tight ends.

Before working for San Diego, Brewster enjoyed success coaching tight ends at the University of Texas (1998-2001) and the University of North Carolina (1989-97). He worked on Mack Brown’s staffs at both schools and developed six tight ends who signed NFL contracts.

In four years at Texas, Brewster tutored two tight ends who earned All-Big 12 Conference honors, including 1998 first-team selection Derek Lewis, and coached two players who signed NFL contracts in Lewis and Bo Scaife, who was drafted in the sixth round by Tennessee in 2005. Brewster’s tight ends at Texas blocked for a 1,000-yard rusher in each of his four seasons at the school, highlighted by Ricky Williams’ 2,124-yard season in 1998.

In nine years at North Carolina, Brewster mentored four All-ACC selections at tight end and helped the school advance to six consecutive bowl games from 1992-97. As recruiting coordinator, his efforts secured the talent that helped the 1997 team go 11-1 and finish fourth in the nation.

Brewster guided Alge Crumpler to a second-team All-ACC distinction and honorable mention All-America accolades from Football News as a sophomore in 1997. He also mentored Freddie Jones to a first-team All-ACC selection in 1995 and again in 1996 when Jones set a North Carolina single-season record for receptions by a tight end (32) to garner third-team All-America honors from Football News.

His tight ends at North Carolina were critical to the team’s rushing success as their blocking helped clear the way for five different 1,000-yard seasons, including Natrone Means’ back-to-back 1,000-yard years in 1991 and 1992. Greg DeLong, a first-team All-ACC tight end in 1994, twice earned ACC Lineman of the Week honors for his blocking in 1996 under Brewster’s tutelage.

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LOS ANGELES – Wisconsin is set to return to the Rose Bowl for the first time since the 2012 season.

When the eighth-ranked Badgers (10-3) face sixth-ranked Oregon (11-2) on Wednesday in Pasadena, it will mark their 10th appearance in the game.

UW is 3-6 in the Rose Bowl, with the last three losses coming at the end of the 2010, ’11 and ’12 seasons.

Here is a look back at five memorable plays in UW’s Rose Bowl history.

Bevell runs to daylight
UW earned a share of the 1993 Big Ten title with Ohio State in Barry Alvarez’s fourth season as head coach.

Badgers quarterback Darrell Bevell celebrates his touchdown run against UCLA in the 1994 Rose Bowl.
Badgers quarterback Darrell Bevell celebrates his touchdown run against UCLA in the 1994 Rose Bowl. (Photo: Joe Koshollek)

The Badgers were making their fourth Rose Bowl appearance but first since the 1962 season.

UW entered the game 9-1-1 and ranked No. 7 in the coaches’ poll and No. 9 in The Associated Press poll. UCLA (8-3-0) came in at No. 13 in the coaches’ poll and No. 14 in the AP poll but was favored to win.

The Badgers held a 14-10 lead in the third quarter when quarterback Darrell Bevell dropped back to pass on second and 8 from the UCLA 21.

Tailback Brent Moss picked up blitzing linebacker Jamir Miller, which allowed Bevell to scramble to his left. Bevell, who entered the Rose Bowl with minus-24 rushing yards on the season, broke free for a 21-yard score to help UW take a 21-10 lead.

The Badgers went on to win, 21-16, to finish 10-1-1.

Alvarez saw a replay of the game recently on BTN. He still can’t believe Bevell scored on the play.

“He didn’t flush once all year,” Alvarez said. “Not one time did he pull the ball down and run. Now he got sacked. But not one time did he pull the pull down and run. And then to keep running all the way to the end zone was ridiculous.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes.”

UW fans likely can still hear the words of Keith Jackson, who handled play-by-play duties for ABC that day:

“Bevell runs away from pressure. Got loose. Lot of green in front of him. It’s touchdown. Bevell makes the big play for the Badgers.”

Cook runs nowhere
Staying with the ’94 Rose Bowl, UCLA had driven for a first down at the UW 18 with just 15 seconds left.

Out of timeouts and trailing by five points, quarterback Wayne Cook dropped back to pass. He decided to scramble, however, and gained only 3 yards to the 15.

“You can’t do that,” analyst Bob Griese said. “You’ve got to throw the ball.”

Cook went down with nine seconds left and the clock ran out before the Bruins could run another play.

Alvarez thrust his arms skyward and hugged running backs coach Jim Hueber.

“The greatest run I’ve ever seen in my life,” Alvarez said. “Cook flinched when he flushed with no timeouts left. There’s nothing you can do.”