Posted by: mdegeorge | February 6, 2011

Weekly Diagnosis: February 5

It’s hard to see past the Super Bowl media coverage black hole at the end of the week engulfing just about any other worthwhile story and relegating it to a line item on the second page of sports budgets. But somehow, these few little tidbits happened to sneak through the gravitational field to reach the ears of the few exhausted by the stream of minutiae coming from Dallas. So without further adieu, here’s the rundown of a week that featured a bad gas station purpose, Hawkeye HIPAA violations, and an actual worthwhile story from the Super Bowl.

One heck of a crash

Beleaguered Memphis Grizzlies guard O.J. Mayo responded to his 10-game suspension by the NBA for violating the league drug policy with a customary tactic: plead ignorance. He added a not so commonly used tactic: blame the 7-11 down the street.

Mayo is alleging that a tainted energy drink purchased at a gas station that contained the dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) that showed up on the drug test, though he stopped short of going into specifics.

I’m glad someone finally brought attention to this major problem. There’s just no place for drinks like Monster Testoster-punch and Roid Bull. But seriously, though, the excuse of tainted food has worked for at least one guy.

Stop the presses: NFL players get hurt

A report compiled this week showed that most injury metrics for the NFL were up in 2010 from their 2009 numbers. The average players injured per week increased from 3.2 in 2009 to 3.7 this season. In addition, 63 percent of players were injured enough to appear in the weekly injury report (up from 59 in 2009) and 13 percent of injuries warranted placement on injured reserve (up from 10 percent).

The report doesn’t go into specifics such as type or objective severity of injuries, but does bring up some good talking points. The absolute comparability of 2010 to 2009 is difficult, since we would have to assume 2009 is a typical year (a conclusion this report doesn’t seem to make.) It also doesn’t take into account motivations for injured reserve placement, which can be varied based on severity and other factors.

So, basically, in the pre-Super Bowl hijacking of the media universe, this is just a way for the injury issue to gain a little traction with what amounts to little more than statistically-adorned hot air. All we basically know thanks to this report is that NFL players get hurt, and they get hurt a lot. Good work all.

Shooting from the HIP-AA

Another layer of the Iowa rhabdomyolysis scandal was uncovered this week with the revelation that three employees were fired and two suspended over providing improper disclosure of the medical conditions of the 13 University of Iowa football players hospitalized last week.

Hospital spokesman Tom Moore took the investigation as “an indication of our commitment to patient privacy,” and has notified the patients involved. The violations are allegedly to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act or HIPPA, which is a federal law that limits who confidential medical information can be shared with. Suffice it to say, the Associate Press isn’t on the “ok” list.

The best part of the story though is how rife it is with conflicts of interest. First, the story about illegal leaks at the hospital is being reported by the Associated Press…which was on the receiving end and benefited from any illegally-obtained information is not responsible for pushing for those breaches in the first place. The offending hospital is also the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, which is run by the same university that is generally responsible for the health and well-being of the same athletes that found themselves in the hospital. And, it’s yet to be seen what negligence, if any, the Hawkeyes’ coaching staff played in the original occurrence of the conditions (I’m betting some). Why do I feel like this won’t be the last time we discuss this?

Oh, he would walk 500 miles

Think running a marathon is hard? Try running one every day…for a year. That’s what Stefaan Engels, nicknamed the “Marathon Man” in the most understated moniker ever, completed in the last year. That’s right, 365 marathons in 365 days.

He averaged about four hours of running each day and around 10 kilometers per hour while running marathons in seven different countries. His best time was 2 hours, 56 minutes, which isn’t bad considering he had to run a marathon the next day and had run one the previous day!

Egnels, who also holds a Guinness world record for completing 20 Ironman triathlons in a year, shattered the previous mark of 52. In total, he ran 9,569 miles, or over one third the circumference of the earth.

I salute the mental and physical fortitude it takes to complete such a task, never more than today during the Super Bowl when I pig out on chips and dip.

Finally a worthwhile Super Story

It’s all to easy to become so deluded by the marathon Super Bowl coverage that will bring you, among other things, four consecutive hours of Chris Berman before and three hours after the game Sunday, that we can easily lose a good story when we see one.

Of the many genuinely heart-warming stories this week (for the record, Charlie Peprah’s lineage that dates back to an executed Ghanaian premier is one), there’s the work of Packers defensive back Josh Gordy. The rookie has launched a crusade to raise money for research and support of patients with hemophilia, a pernicious syndrome with myriad causes that results in uncontrollable bleeding. Gordy’s 8-year-old nephew suffers from the affliction, and Gordy is devoting his offseason to help raise awareness for the cause. It’s a short article, but well worth the time.



  1. […] Weekly Diagnosis: February 5 « The Sports Doctor […]

  2. […] It’s hard to see past the Super Bowl media coverage black hole at the end of the week engulfing just about any other worthwhile story and relegating it to a line item on the second page of sports budgets. But somehow, these few little tidbits happened to sneak through the gravitational field to reac … Read the original post: Weekly Diagnosis: February 5 […]

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