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Marathons linked to short-term kidney injury in new study

With the days ticking down to the 121st Boston Marathon, a new study from Yale University might give some runners pause about lacing up.

The study found that in a sample of healthy long-distance runners, more than 80 percent showed signs of acute kidney injury right after a marathon.

“We know that bouts of acute kidney injury in the hospital, such bouts of injury are not good. But the case may be completely different for healthy people,” lead author Dr. Chirag Parikh told Fox25Boston.com.

>> Watch the news report here 

The signs of kidney injury only last a few days, but the concern is that it might lead to long-term problems for long-distance runners.

“If somebody's running several marathons, over time, maybe it can lead to cumulative damage,” Parikh said.

Even the most experienced marathon runners know a race of 26.2 miles is no picnic.

“I've never finished one and said, oh, I feel great,” said one runner on a training run Wednesday.

>> Read more trending news

But the study raises special concerns for runners who may have pre-existing kidney issues they might not know about – especially if they're tackling a difficult course like Boston.

“We're kind of running downhill, flat and then you're up and down in the hills. So that puts a strain on the body,” Shane O’Hara from Marathon Sports said.

The study reinforces a simple rule many runners know all too well.

“Some of them run marathons without drinking fluids properly and they need to stay hydrated,” 2017 Boston Marathon entrant Christopher Battoo said.

Runners are taking the information in stride, but it won’t stop them from competing.

“Even knowing this study, I'm still going to run. It's something I love to do,” 2017 Boston Marathon entrant Meagan Kelly said.

President Trump declines opportunity to throw out first pitch

Apparently President Donald Trump won’t be singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” at Nationals Park on opening day. 

Trump has declined to perform the tradition when the Washington Nationals host the Miami Marlins Monday, ESPN reported.

>> Read more trending news

It is due to a scheduling conflict, The Washington Post reported.

The tradition of the president throwing out the first pitch at Washington’s opening-day game started more than 100 years ago , when President William Howard Taft threw out the first pitch for the then-Washington Senators in 1910, ESPN reported

In recent history, George W. Bush and Barack Obama threw out ceremonial first pitches on opening day.

Overall, 13 presidents been part of the ceremony either for the Senators or the Nationals.

There is no word on who will have the honor of throwing out the first pitch.

Nats all-star pitcher Stephen Strasburg is scheduled to start for Washington. Edinson Volquez is the starter listed for the Marlins.

The first pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET on Monday.

NFL quarterback falls for golf course snake prank

Sir Hissalot strikes again. The fake rattlesnake used in golf course pranks took on an NFL quarterback this week and the amusing result is making the rounds on social media.

>> Read more trending news

Brock Osweiler, formerly with the Denver Broncos and  Houston Texans and now a member of the Cleveland Browns, was playing at an Arizona golf course when the fake snake was placed next to his golf cart, according to KHOU. Osweiler showed his speed in escaping threats off the field by hightailing it away from the prop.

The prank was caught on camera and posted on Sir Hissalot's Instagram page.

Fun with Numbers: A look at the raw numbers of what Pitt basketball needs to replace next year

We all know that Pitt's basketball team loses quite a bit for next season. That's something we've not only talked a lot about as the season went on, but anticipated before the year even began. And given the seniors that are out of eligibility and, more recently, the transfers, I was curious to see just how much (or in this case, how little) production will be returning to the team next year.

Here's a closer look at just how much the Panthers won't return for next season. We're just now into the offseason so more departures are still possible. But as of right now, here's what the team loses in terms of pure numbers.

The Panthers lose:

  • 85% of their scoring - Cam Johnson is the leading-returning scorer with 11.9 points per game. Seeing him get up to 15 or so seems like practically a given based on how little the Panthers have coming back and he could be in line for an even bigger jump depending on how much he's asked to do.
  • 69% of their rebounding - There wasn't quite as big of a hit here as there was with the scoring since Cam Johnson wasn't terrible on the glass and the Panthers' top two returning reserves, Ryan Luther and Rozelle Nix, were big men. But, obviously, that's still a lot. Cam Johnson is the leading returning rebounder (notice a trend here?) with 4.5 rebounds per game.
  • 81% of their assists - This was a down area this year for the team as they averaged only 14 assists per game. As I've said before, part of that was due to Michael Young and Jamel Artis just sort of dominating the ball. Cam Johnson and his 2.3 assists per contest lead the team in terms of returnees.
  • 70% of their steals - Again, not a big number since the team averaged a meager four per game. Heck, some college players have averaged almost that by themselves. Cam Johnson's .9 steals per game led the team this year.
  • 87% of their blocks - Again, a very small number. Pitt averaged only three blocks as an entire team and finally, someone other than Cam leads the way coming back. That would be Ryan Luther and his .7 per game.
  • 82% of their free throw attempts - Cam Johnson leads the way again here as far as returning players as he got to the line 74 times last year.
Pitt will have other guys step in, step up, etc. But some of these numbers are still sort of eyepopping. Just another reminder that, regardless of who plays and steps up next year, the team will look vastly different than this year. Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

Pitt Football Spring Practices: Rafael Araujo-Lopes in for expanded role in 2017?

Rafael Araujo-Lopes came to Pitt for the 2015 season after a monster 1,200+ yard year in JUCO ball. That led some to believe he might even contribute to the team right away, with only Tyler Boyd as a 'sure thing' at receiver that season.

But Araujo-Lopes not only redshirted that year, but he was used sparingly last season. As a redshirt sophomore in 2016, he managed only three catches for 36 yards.

Despite that lack of production, though, could this finally be the year he gets on the field more? If you listen to head coach Pat Narduzzi, that's possible.

Pitt had a closed scrimmage on Saturday and when asked, Narduzzi suggested that Araujo-Lopes was one of the guys that stood out. "I think the one guy that was consistent was Rafael Araujo-Lopes," said Narduzzi. "I was really proud of the things he did."

While he had only three catches last season, one area Araujo-Lopes did carve out a little for himself was in Matt Canada's explosive offense as a rusher. As one of the players involved in the coordinator's jet sweep plays, Araujo-Lopes did play a little in that role, with six carries and a 5.3 yard-per-carry average. Even with Canada gone, Narduzzi envisions him doing more of that this year, working alongside Quadree Henderson.

"I think that is what we are striving to do," Narduzzi added. "He was able to do some of those things last year. He did them in the game, probably not as many big plays as Quadree, but he had those opportunities. He's done those things; he's seen himself on video. I like the way he's working right now."

Araujo-Lopes still isn't a sure thing to play a ton. Both starters from last year, Jester Weah and Quadree Henderson, return. And to be honest, he even has work to do just to climb up the depth chart as a reserve. Young receivers Tre Tipton and Aaron Mathews both return, as does Maurice Ffrench, who played a role in the jet sweeps as well. That's not even mentioning redshirt freshman Ruben Flowers (rated as high as a four-star recruit last year) and the incoming freshmen, including Michael Smith, who had 1,500+ yards in high school last year and was offered by Notre Dame, among others.

For now, though, Araujo-Lopes seems like he will be a factor for playing time in the fall. And the more competition Pitt has at receiver, the better.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

Pitt Football Spring Practices: Jordan Whitehead may be changing safety positions for 2017

News came out after Tuesday's Pitt football practice that Jordan Whitehead may be changing positions. No, he isn't moving from safety to corner. Rather, Whitehead could move from the boundary safety spot to the field safety spot (which is how Pitt classifies their strong/free safety positions, respectively).

Head coach Pat Narduzzi discussed the potential move. "We are giving Jordan a little bit of reps to the field safety as well, trying to find out who our two best safeties are," said Narduzzi. "He's got a chance to play the field as well as the boundary now.

The reason for the possible move? Both players at that spot last year, Terrish Webb and Reggie Mitchell, are now gone. "That's our next step is getting him able to play both and he may be the guy at free safety with Reggie (Mitchell) gone and T-Webb [Terrish Webb] gone," added the head coach. "He might be the next guy out there. I see a lot of good things out of him."

Whitehead acknowledged that he was the only player on the team who knew that spot in Pitt's scheme and that he's been playing there since spring practices kicked off.

"As soon as spring started, I moved to the field," Whitehead acknowledged. "We lost Reggie Mitchell and Terrish Webb last year, so I was the only guy who knew that spot. I learned from them both, in case they need me wherever."

Where does he want to play? It sounds as if he enjoys playing the new field safety spot.

"They're very similar [positions], but with one there is a little more covering. I like it a lot."

As Narduzzi said, the free safety spot is a little more difficult. That's because you're out there and sort of reacting to the play as it develops. The benefit, however, is that playing field safety should present a few more chances for interceptions for him since he's back there with a little more freedom move around and being a little more of a factor in the passing game. The other side to that is that he may not be as much of a force in stopping the run as he has been.

Another thing is that Whitehead should even be a little 'safer' back there and less prone to injury since he'd be less involved in run coverage. He's an important part of the defense and while you can get hurt playing anywhere, seeing a little less contact isn't necessarily a bad thing when you're such a key player and with Pitt's lack of safety experience behind him.

Either way, though, even if Whitehead doesn't move (though, it sounds as if he will), Pitt still needs another safety to replace Webb and Mitchell. Two that Narduzzi cited during practices are Dennis Briggs and Phil Campbell. You can bet that the other safety spot opposite Whitehead will be something to watch this fall.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

A Panther for Life - Cardiac Hill Adds a Writer

Meet the Newest Member of our Team

Hello everyone, my name is Jordan, and my obsession with Pitt sports began on a brutally hot August afternoon in 1997. Fueled by several cans of Surge, I walked up the seemingly endless hill to Pitt Stadium with my dad. We were joined by my dad’s best friend and his son. Our pregame activities consisted of several trips to the concessions and my dad trying to convince me that the WQED tower was where the teams kicked field goals. Pitt beat the Southwestern Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (greatest nickname in college football by the way) 45-13 that day and I was hooked. Two years later I was lucky enough to attend the last game at Pitt Stadium.

The early days of my Pitt basketball fandom consisted of a lot of disappointment and trying to convince myself that "if Jarrett Lockhart can just get hot from the outside, they might have a chance." Adolescence was filled with Larry Fitzgerald hero worship and picking Pitt to win the National Championship every year in my bracket (yes, the 2005 team was going to be the first 9th seed to do it). When it came time for college applications, it was pretty clear where I was headed. I applied to Pitt because I was going to go there and Penn State just so I could make them waste paper mailing me an acceptance letter.

One of the highlights of my time at school was going to 13-9 and having a WVU fan with his young daughter tell me, "Thanks for ruining our Christmas" in the stadium parking lot afterward. On the other hand, I also spent money going to the Sun Bowl so not every memory was a happy one.

My writing career began with simple Facebook note basketball game recaps during senior year (2010-2011). It was a way for me to talk about something I loved and inform my friends about each game. The next year I moved to grad school (Pitt, obviously) and started a blog, which I operated for four years before the responsibilities of adulthood took over.

Currently, I am a married father of two (my daughter is 19 months and my son is due in July), working for a sports tech company.  I usually do not have a beard, but below is a photograph of my daughter and me at the Syracuse game this year. I enjoy writing about the emotion of the game and finding trends in the data such as "How much better does Brad Wanamaker shoot when he starts the night off by driving to the basket?" Although I love statistics (I was a high school math teacher for four years), I try not to include too many of them in my writing.

Although, I won’t be able to contribute as much to the blog as I would like, I am thankful to Anson for giving me the opportunity to talk about Pitt sports with fans as passionate as I am.

Hail to Pitt,

Jordan

Former Pitt center Steven Adams enjoying career year in Oklahoma City

With the loss of superstar Kevin Durant in the offseason, the Oklahoma City Thunder probably expected to get a little more out of players whose opportunities may have been a bit limited in the past. One of those guys is former Pitt center Steven Adams and the big man has mostly played well this year.

On offense, Adams is experiencing career-highs almost across the board. His minutes are up, playing about 30 minutes a game instead of the 25 or so he was playing in each of the past two seasons. As a result, Adams is scoring and rebounding more as both his 11.7 points and 7.6 rebounds to date would both be career-bests, as would be his assist and steal totals - both just slightly over one per game. Without Durant, Adams is a larger part of the offense. He's getting over eight shots per game, which is easily the most he's had in any season during his career.

Perhaps most importantly, if you've not yet seen the videos he produces with fellow big man, Enes Kanter, you're missing out.

One area where there's room for improvement? On defense. He's been mostly solid, but admitted to having some lapses in a recent slide for the Thunder.

But overall, Adams is playing pretty well this season and he remains one of the team's key players beyond MVP candidate Russell Westbrook. He's now in his third consecutive year as Oklahoma City's starting center and carving out a nice career after his Pitt days.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

Brady tells Kraft he's willing to play six or seven more years

Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft shared a part of his recent conversation with Tom Brady Monday during the owner's meetings in Phoenix. 

>> Read more trending news

"As recently as two, three days ago, he assured me he'd be willing to play six, seven more years at the level he performed," said Kraft. "There's no one that would be happier than I, and our fan base... There's one player at the age of 40 who had one good year (Brett Favre) for the Vikings but he didn't do so well before. 

"I think Tommy's sustained excellence is just unbelievable and it's a lifestyle. You know, he's in training now. It's not like he's stopped. He works out. I remember after our first Super Bowl in '01, going down in the training room in the old Foxboro Stadium, three days after we won and he's in there with the music blaring working out, so he's really dedicated and the thing that's amazing about him is to this day, he hasn't changed as a human being in terms of how he relates to people but also how he works out, and the only thing that's probably changed is how he eats. I'm not sure avocado ice cream is right for me, but if I could look like him and perform half as well, I guess I'd do it." 

When asked about the future of Brady's backup, Jimmy Garoppolo, Kraft deferred to Bill Belichick's expertise. "I charge him to handle all football matters," said Kraft. "We're privileged to have the greatest quarterback in the history of the game and it looks like he's playing pretty solid and he's off the charts in my opinion and we're lucky to have him.

"That's the most important position on the team, needless to say. I don't think anyone can say, 'You've got too much depth at that position,' and I've charged Bill to make those decisions and I'll leave that with him." 

Malcolm Butler, the center of speculation regarding a possible trade with the Saints, remains an unrestricted free agent who has the option to sign a one-year offer sheet from the Patriots. 

"I hope he's with us and signs his offer sheet and plays for us," said Kraft. "I have a great affection for him and he actually was part of probably the greatest play in the history of our team, but there are a lot of people involved in that, on both sides."

When asked if the intention was to trade Butler, Kraft quickly said, "No," but also made it clear that he didn't want infringe on Butler's rights and re-stated his hope Butler returned with the Patriots in 2017.

As for Commissioner Roger Goodell, and whether he's welcome at the Patriots season opener in September? 

"I think I'll let you all ask him that," said Kraft. "Look, he's commissioner of the league. As we all know, he has the right to go wherever he wishes to go and if he wanted to come he's welcome to come. We're happy that we're celebrating our fifth banner and he can decide whether he wants to be there." 

Atlanta Hawks fan celebrates major dunk with silly dance

At the Atlanta Hawks game against the Brooklyn Nets Sunday in Atlanta, one fan got the crowd going with his dunk and his dance.

In a video posted on Facebook by the Hawks, a man dressed in jeans, a shirt and Nike shoes, first dribbled the ball from across the court and then made the jump of his life.

>> Read more trending news

His body reached heights taller than the basket, but he was able to make the daring basket and land on the pad below.

If that didn’t get the crowd going, his dance surely did.

He somersaulted off the pad and “butt-bumped” on the court and then finished with a full-body spin.

The clip has more than 368,000 views.

Some commented with skepticism on the video and suggested it was staged, comparing it to some of the “kiss cam fails” that have gone viral, like the proposal fail at a January Hawks game.

Whether or not he was a real fan, it was a fun sight for the crowd.

As for Sunday’s game, the Nets won 107-92. 

Watch the video of the dunk and dance below.

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