Sims performed hundreds of surgeries on enslaved women without anesthesia, antiseptics or their consent.The struggle is growing for the removal of racist Dr. James Marion Sims’ statue from New York City’s Central Park. Sims, known as the “father of gynecology,” made alleged medical advances through his cruel practice of performing unethical, gynecological surgical techniques on enslaved Black women without anesthesia, antiseptics or their consent. In his quest for fame, he manipulated the institution of slavery to perform his brutal experiments.The national movement to get rid of Confederate monuments following recent white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Va., led local activists to renew their push to take Sims’ statue down.Black Youth Project 100 held a protest Aug. 19 in front of the monument, located at 103rd Street and Fifth Avenue in East Harlem, to demand its removal. Other organizations have demonstrated, too. Boldly, someone spray-painted “racist” on the statue on Aug. 26.NYC City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who has been involved in this campaign since 2011, called for the statue to come down at an Aug. 21 press conference, calling Sims’ “despicable acts … repugnant and reprehensible.” (Daily News, Aug. 21)East Harlem residents have campaigned for years to get this affront to their community taken down. A recent poll of that community showed an overwhelming number support the statue’s removal.Medical experimentation = tortureAlso addressing this issue post-Charlottesville was Steve Benjamin, African- American mayor of Columbia, S.C., who said that Sims’ offensive statute on their Statehouse grounds “should come down. … [He] tortured slave women and children for years as he developed his treatments for gynecology.” (MSNBC, Aug. 15)“Slaveowner” Sims carried out these surgeries in the U.S. South from 1845 to 1849 with no training in gynecology. In Alabama, he performed hundreds of surgeries on enslaved women that he “owned” or “borrowed.” He experimented many times on 12 enslaved women, an astounding 30 times on one of them. Many women died.Plantation owners took enslaved women to Sims for treatment so they could continue working and would produce more children to add to the enslaved population. Enslaved people had no personal rights and were the property of their “owners” who held possession of their lives, bodies and labor. Sims also experimented on enslaved Black men.Sims’ copious notes revealed slaveowner language, sprinkled with racial slurs and vivid depictions of Black women’s bodies. Later, after “successful” experimentation, he used the same surgical procedures on white women in New York, but used anesthesia for them.A common, outrageous racist belief then was that Black people were insensitive to pain — and thus didn’t need anesthesia during surgery. This sheds light on the historically violent oppression of Blacks in the U.S., and was a horrifying testament to the brutality of slavery and its relationship to U.S. medicine. It highlights the intersection of race and medicine.Harriet Washington writes about this extensively and Sims’ crimes, in her groundbreaking book, “Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present.” (Doubleday, 2007)Neonatal tetanus in newborns, acquired through infection of the unhealed umbilical cord, often cut with a nonsterile instrument, afflicted many enslaved children. It is now known to result from the impoverished conditions of enslaved peoples’ living quarters.But the archracist Sims attributed neonatal tetanus to enslaved Africans’ “inferiority.” So this “medical monster” performed horrific surgeries on enslaved women’s babies without anesthesia. All of these babies died. He blamed the fatalities on “the ignorance” of their mothers and midwives, while his crimes caused these deaths.Even as he was committing these crimes, Sims founded the Woman’s Hospital of New York in 1855, where he performed operations on indigent women who then had lengthy hospital stays and underwent repeated procedures. Despite his record of killing women and children and inflicting pain, he was named president of the American Medical Association in 1875 and then president of the Gynecological Society in 1879.Take down Sims’ statue!The 13-foot statue of Sims was installed at its present location in 1934 — in East Harlem’s historically African-American and Puerto Rican neighborhood. In an insult to oppressed women, the wording below it reads: “Surgeon and Philanthropist, Founder of the Woman’s Hospital State of New York. In recognition of his services in the cause of science and mankind.” Wording on the base adds: “His brilliant achievement carried the fame of American surgery throughout the entire world.”The current struggle is over whether the city should keep, remove or relocate the statue. The East Harlem Preservation organization began its campaign in 2007 in solidarity with efforts by activist Viola Plummer, member of the December 12th Movement, to call attention to Sims’ cruel experiments. That year, NYC Councilmember Charles Barron petitioned the NYC Parks and Recreation Department to remove the statue. Proposals have been raised to instead honor the women Sims tortured.The EHP reports that then-East Harlem Councilmember Mark-Viverito appealed to the Parks Department in 2011 to remove the statute because it is a “constant reminder of the historic cruelty endured by women of color” — and in a community comprised mainly of people of color.The Parks Department refused to honor these requests, claiming “the city does not remove ‘art’ for content.” In 2016, Community Board 11 called for the statue’s removal. That year, at a speakout at Sims’ statue “community members honored their ancestors and condemned the memorial to assaults on Black and Latina female bodies,” said the EHP. In February, EHP addressed this issue in a cable TV panel discussion, which included author Harriet Washington. The organization is working to gain more endorsements to pressure the Parks Department to remove this racist’s monument.EHP declares that “Sims is not our hero” and maintains that the statue’s presence is an insult to the “neighborhood’s majority Black and Puerto Rican residents — two groups that have been subjected to medical experiments without permission or regard for their wellbeing.” Moreover, there are many heroic “Black and Puerto Rican women and men who have made great medical and scientific contributions” to the community. Our children, says the EHP, should learn about them — and know their lives matter.Sims’ statues, like Confederate monuments, memorialize white supremacist slaveowners and murderers. They perpetuate the view that this “medical monster” was the “father of gynecology,” a benevolent man of science, rather than a sadistic racist whose inventions were brutally enabled by slavery.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare this
Miami-Dade youths tried as adults and given adult sentences are twice as likely to re-offend as similar youth who are sentenced to juvenile justice programs, according to a recently released study.“Ironically, the study comes at a time when the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice has proposed budget cuts that would prevent judges from sentencing youth who are tried as adults to the more effective juvenile programs,” according to a prepared statement from the office of 11th Circuit Public Defender Bennett H. Brummer.The study, produced by Craig A. Mason, Ph.D., formerly of the University of Miami (now with the University of Maine), found that over a one-year period, almost 90 percent of the youth sentenced to adult probation or boot camp re-offended or violated the terms of their sentences. In contrast, 40 percent of youth who received juvenile justice sanctions — mostly year-long juvenile residential programs or probation — re-offended or violated their sentences. When compared with youth given adult sanctions, the youth given juvenile justice sanctions had lower re-offense rates, even when they had similar delinquency histories and charges.“The study shows that when judges sentence youth to developmentally appropriate services and programs, they are less likely to reoffend than youth given cookie-cutter adult sentences,” Mason said.“We should do what we can to bring down youth re-offense rates. Funding solutions that are proven effective make sense, both in terms of saving taxpayer money and reducing the number of victims.”Data for the study was collected by Mason as part of an evaluation of the Juvenile Sentencing Advocacy Project, a program initially funded by the U.S. Justice Department and managed by the Miami-Dade County Public Defender’s Office.The JSAP collected, analyzed, and provided information that helped adult court judges make informed sentencing decisions. According to an evaluation of JSAP in the first year of the program, the number of youth receiving juvenile court sanctions increased 350 percent from 1998 to 1999.“The state saves taxpayer dollars and improves public safety when judges impose juvenile sentences rather than adult probation or boot camp. The research confirms that we know what works and what doesn’t. Eliminating sentences to juvenile commitment programs will not make our community safer. I hope that Florida’s policy-makers will now find the political will to do the right things and reject the department’s proposed cuts,” Brummer said, referring to DJJ’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2002-03 that would require that youth tried as adults could only receive adult sanctions.“Florida is first among the states in transferring youth to adult court,” said Patricia Puritz, director of the National Juvenile Defender Center.“Instead of denying transferred youth important rehabilitation opportunities, Florida should be trying to bring down re-offense rates by strengthening and funding effective juvenile programs.”A separate five-year study by the DJJ released January 8 called “Trends in Transfer of Juveniles to Adult Criminal Court” cite the JSAP study and agreed with its conclusion: “The researchers found that youth who receive sanctions and rehabilitation in Florida’s juvenile justice system have a lower rate of recidivism than their counterparts who are transferred to adult criminal court. The group reported that when the youth did recidivate, those transferred to the adult system committed more felony offenses.”For more information on the JSAP program or to download the study, visit www.pdmiami.com. If you have any questions, call Chief Assistant Public Defender Carlos Martinez at 305-545-1903 or e-mail Craig Mason, Ph.D., [email protected] Study tracks youths tried in adult court Study tracks youths tried in adult court February 15, 2002 Regular News
Bengals legend Ken Anderson’s arrival on Twitter scene reminds us Hall of Fame needs him to be complete
“Maybe it’s because of what happened lately with the franchise. It doesn’t get a lot of respect,” Anderson said. “But you go back to the 70s and 80s, and I think we were as good as anybody in the league. Unfortunately, the Steelers with one of the great teams of all time happened to be in our division. And we ran into the San Francisco 49ers a couple times in the Super Bowl, with one of the great dynasties of all time.“I look at some of the players on our team. Kenny Riley, a great defensive back on our team, is very deserving. You look at a guy like Isaac Curtis, I’ll take him over any other receiver you can name … It’s just the numbers were different. I think we’ve had a lot of very, very good players on our teams.”You’ve got to be great to make the Hall of Fame, of course. Ken Anderson was all of that. The numbers are there. The results were there. The votes have not been. We have seen that voters sometimes make mistakes, sometimes huge. This is one that should be rectified. “Starting to feel like something else I’ve been waiting for … is this about not having a Super Bowl win?”Eligible for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame since 1991, Anderson has been snubbed 30 times, and still he has maintained his sense of humor and perspective. He does not need the Hall to validate him, but the Hall needs Anderson in order to justify itself as complete.MORE: Each NFL team’s biggest Hall of Fame snub“I don’t think twice about it, to be honest with you, except those times of year when it comes time for the election and somebody will call and say, ‘What do you think?’” Anderson told Sporting News. “Other than that, it doesn’t cross my mind.“I guess the only time I was disappointed was the first time I was eligible, and I got into the final 15 and didn’t make it, and then it was disappointing. After that, I guess when you come from my background and grow up in a small town and go to a small high school and then go to a small college, you never dream about those things. My dream was fulfilled when I got a chance to play professional football for 16 years.”Anderson told SN he joined Twitter not to revive interest in his Hall candidacy but rather to help promote his foundation, the Ken Anderson Alliance, which is involved in helping adults with developmental disabilities. He is scheduled to conduct a fundraising golf tournament Oct. 12 in conjunction with Bengals radio analyst Dave Lapham at Maketewah Country Club in Cincinnati. Several planned spring events to benefit the foundation had to be postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.Anderson’s arrival onto the social media scene did serve as a reminder, though, of what a tremendous vacancy exists among the Hall’s populace with Anderson absent. The Pro Football Hall of Fame website states its selection committee “is charged with the vital task of continuing to be sure that new enshrines are the finest the game has produced.” In Anderson’s case, those in charge of ensuring this mission statement be fulfilled failed at the task.As happens periodically with all sports halls of fame, the committee blew every chance it had to present Anderson with the honor his career achievements warranted. Now out of the game more than 25 years, he is eligible to be selected by the “seniors” committee. That crew had 10 chances this past year alone – for the special “Centennial Class” the Hall chose to honor – and botched that one, too.Lance McAlister is host of the nightly Sports Talk program on Cincinnati radio station WLW, whose powerful signal can be heard at night in much of the continental U.S. The 50,000 watts powering his voice, however, have not been successful moving the needle toward Anderson’s election.“I’ve been back in town since 1997, and I’d say it’s been one of those staples of what I do,” McAlister told SN. “There’s always been talk of Pete Rose and the Hall of Fame, but close behind that has always been why, how, how can you explain Ken Anderson not being in the Pro Football Hall of Fame? To me, it’s just always been frustrating. I find it hard to take the process seriously if you consider the process that has led to him not being in at this point. It pulls back the curtain on the politics of the process, the lack of context being offered in the process and, I think, the lack of awareness in the process.“I don’t know why it doesn’t bother more voters or leave them feeling embarrassed that, as a whole, they’ve missed on this.”Now 71 and retired after nearly two decades as an NFL assistant coach, Anderson joined the Bengals in 1971 as a third-round pick out of Augustana College in Illinois, no more a big-time football power then than it is now. The school has produced only two NFL players in its history. Anderson was able to make four starts as a rookie, then take over the quarterback job for good and hold it for the next 13 years.He led the Bengals to double-digit victories in three of his first four seasons, a period that happened to coincide with the ascent of the Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl dynasty. The Bengals were in the same division as the Steelers, then called the AFC Central, and finished second behind them for three of those four years despite an average record of roughly 10-4.In 1981, though, Anderson’s Bengals broke through to a 12-4 season in which he led the league in passing for a third time and reached the Super Bowl with a 27-7 destruction of the Chargers in what is known as the “Freezer Bowl,” played in temperatures of minus-9 degrees that didn’t stop Anderson from throwing for two touchdowns on 64 percent completions. The Bengals lost there to Joe Montana and the 49ers’ nascent dynasty by a narrow decision, 26-21.Five points, not even a single touchdown, separated Anderson from a Super Bowl ring. That’s fair. That’s how the game works. But the Hall of Fame, too?“I was the Cincinnati selector on the 44-person Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee for 10 years,” former Dayton Daily News sportswriter Chick Ludwig told SN. “I wrote several letters on behalf of Ken to fellow selectors, but I couldn’t convince them to have Ken be a modern day finalist. Now that he’s in the morass of senior candidates – with a fate in the hands of the seniors committee – I pray he’s not forgotten.”It is curious the absence of a championship weighs so heavily on quarterback candidates. Brian Urlacher, Randy Moss, Terrell Owens and Kevin Mawae all made it in the past two years without league titles. But there are six quarterbacks from the Super Bowl era who made it without a ring, and Anderson measures up well enough to merit a place.Dan Fouts made it easily, though he never even played in a Super Bowl – he quarterbacked San Diego in the Freezer Bowl — was barely above .500 as a starter and made only two more Pro Bowls than Anderson. He was a statistical marvel, leading the league in passing yards four times and touchdowns twice, but Anderson has numbers that flatter him, as well.In addition to leading the league in passer rating four times, his career mark in that category is better than three of the six non-Super Bowl winning QBs who are in the Hall. His passes were intercepted less often than four of the six. He led the league twice in passing yards and three times in completion percentage, including a 70.6 mark in 1982 that stood as an NFL record for 27 years, until Drew Brees surpassed it in 2009.This fact alone should have gotten him into the Hall years ago: There are seven quarterbacks in NFL history who have led the league in passer rating three times or more; their names are Steve Young (six times), Bart Starr (five), Roger Staubach (four) and Sid Luckman, Sammy Baugh and Peyton Manning (three each). Oh, and Ken Anderson, who did it four times.Seriously? Think somebody flukes his way into a list of legends like that?“Most quarterbacks of my era would love to play in this time,” Anderson told SN. “If you go back to the 70s, if you lead the league in passing it was probably around 2,200 yards you threw for. If you had 18 touchdown passes, that probably led the league. If you completed 50 percent of your passes, that was about the norm. Now it’s 5,000 yards, it’s 40 touchdowns, it’s a 4-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio, it’s 65 percent.“But it was kind of fun coming up through then. My first five years were with Bill Walsh and the West Coast Offense, and we were hitting a lot of those 60 percent-plus seasons. Bill had a unique offense, and it was fun being a part of that.”Bengals history, and NFL history, was dramatically altered when the great Paul Brown retired and installed Bill Johnson as his successor rather than Walsh. When the Bengals reached the Super Bowl in 1981 and 1988, it was Walsh’s 49ers who beat them.Now more than 50 years after they entered the league, the Bengals have had only one player who played a significant portion of his career in Cincinnati honored by the Hall of Fame: tackle Anthony Munoz. Of the other 15 teams that launched in the 60s and 70s, no one else has fewer than three, and the average is eight.The Bengals had some dreadful teams between 1992-2002, after Mike Brown took control of the team following his father’s death and gambled on young Dave Shula as head coach. But the team has won nine division championships, made 14 playoff appearances and twice reached the Super Bowl. It took less than a month after Ken Anderson joined the Twitter universe for him to demonstrate he had mastered the art form, if we can call it that.A four-time NFL passing champion, a four-time Pro Bowl selection, the winner of the 1981 league MVP trophy and the 1975 recipient of what is now known as the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, Anderson posted a tweet in May wondering why his account had yet to be verified.
ALAMEDA — Mike Zimmer couldn’t have been more blunt.Less than 24 hours prior, Vikings rookie kicker Daniel Carlson had missed all three field-goal attempts in a Week 2 tie with the Packers, including two in overtime. His third, a 35-yarder as the clock hit triple zeroes in overtime, drifted wide right. Carlson gripped his knees and stared straight down as the Lambeau Field crowd buried him in cheers.His final miss was his final kick with the Vikings, who made him the first kicker drafted when …
Klay Thompson subscribes. You can too for just 11 cents a day for 11 months + receive a free Warriors Championship book. Sign me up!HOUSTON – The Warriors are not leaning on this scenario as an in-series adjustment. But Warriors coach Steve Kerr shared some encouraging news on the likelihood centers DeMarcus Cousins and Damian Jones could return at some point during the NBA playoffs.“It’s a possibility he could be back. Same with DeMarcus,” Kerr said on Sunday. “He’s coming along pretty well. …
9 January 2014With the N3TC Drak Challenge set to serve as the 2014 South African K1 River Championships on 18 and 19 January, the event has drawn a field filled with world class talent, led by three-time Drak and marathon world champion Hank McGregor.New champions are set to be crowned with last year’s men’s winner Graeme Solomon not expected to enter and women’s champion Michele Eray overseas coaching the United States national canoeing team.McGregor missed the Drak Challenge last year because he was in Australia to contest the Perth Doctor Surfski World Cup in preparation for the ICF World Surfski Championships in Portugal. He had won the previous three Drak titles from 2010 to 2012.With his close friend Grant van der Walt, a two-time under-23 marathon world champion, defending the title, the Durban-based star is looking forward to a tough battle for the honours. There will be many more tough paddlers to contend with, however.Under-23 world championAndy Birkett, the under-23 marathon world champion, will be on the starting line. Thanks to a sponsorship from Euro Steel, the three-time Dusi champion is now able to concentrate full time on paddling and should be in excellent shape.Birkett and his Dusi partner, Sbonelo Zondi, have both committed to the Drak Challenge, but they will lack the experience of some of the other contenders.“This will be my first Drak in five years as it just hasn’t been a part of my Dusi build- up for the past few years,” Birkett said when he announced his entry in December.“I usually prefer to train more and race less before Dusi, but this time I’ve learnt to use racing as part of my training. I’ve really enjoyed taking part in more races recently and I’m really looking forward to being back at Drak again too.”‘The river is just amazing’He also praised the picturesque race, saying: “The river is just amazing. Paddling through the gorge and some of those pools is just unbelievable. Even to be able to head up there before the race and trip that section is well worth it because it is just so beautiful with the mountains in the background, and the river is so much fun all the way down.“The river, the venue, the clean water – it is just such a special setup up there in Underberg and all these factors make the Drak a really awesome event.”‘Very technical’Zondi, too, said he was looking forward to the Drak, even though it does not necessarily suit his skills’ set. “I enjoy the Drak because it is totally out of my strengths. There is no running with the boat in the Drak, like there is in Dusi, and the river is very technical, so I really enjoy the different type of challenge the Drak is for me.“The race has a bit of everything. Day one is very technical and you have to drive the boat very well and then on day two you then have to prove your strength on the flatter sections. All in all it is very exciting.”Late entryThree-time champion Len Jenkins entered just before Wednesday evening’s deadline and could pose a threat, although there are suggestions that he might take on the race socially.He won the event in 2004, 2006 and 2008 and held the race record until Grant van der Walt bettered it in flooded conditions last year. Jenkins finished second for the fourth year in succession.InternationalsCzech star Jakub Adam, who will team up with former K2 marathon world champion Cam Schoeman for the Dusi Canoe Marathon, will add some international intrigue to the event, as will the Australian duo of Josh Kippin and James Morfitt.The Australians have already competed in the Hansa Fish, Lowveld Croc and 50 Miler, as well as a number of surfski races in South Africa, but it will be a last South African event for Kippin. Morfitt could yet take on the Dusi, the Non-Stop Dusi and the Umkomaas Canoe Marathon.Women’s raceAdam’s sister, Anna Adamova, who finished second in the K1 women’s class at the Marathon World Championships in September 2013 and third in the K2s, is an immensely powerful paddler and could pose a threat to the leading South African paddlers in the women’s division, but her lack of experience on the uMzimkhulu River around Underberg in the KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg will be against her. She will also arrive only days before the event.Adamova, though, believes her Dusi partner Abby Adie should win the race. Adie has already won the Drak three times – in 2010, 2011 and 2013 – and will be aiming to become the first woman to win the event four times.‘Unpredictable’“I always enjoy myself up there so much,” she said just before Christmas. “The technical rapids are great and the unpredictable nature of the river, which this year’s (2013) flood showed once more, adds a real element of the unknown to the race.”She also identified a number of other potential winners. “[Dusi champion] Robyn (Kime) is always a big factor and having not seen her paddling for a while, no one really knows just how strong she is at the moment.“If it’s low then Hilary (Bruss) will be deadly through the technical stuff.“Then, of course, there’s Michelle Burn who won KZN Mixed Doubles with her husband Ollie recently and is just so consistent on that river. With her surfski background, she is super strong, especially on the flat sections, and could well be up there as well.”Dark horseThe dark horse, though, is Abbey Ulanksy (nee Miedema), a two-time winner of the Drak, who now lives in Canada. Ulanksy will arrive in South Africa only days before the race, so little is known of her preparations for a crack at the Dusi title with Robyn Kime, but her pedigree (seven Dusi titles) cannot be ignored.The N3TC Drak Challenge 2014 starts on 18 January at Castleburn outside Underberg and finishes on 19 January at Early Mist Farm close to Coleford.
On one side, the pitches at Finsbury Leisure Centre face Mitchell Street.It was there one freezing cold Friday night in late November 2012 that Mitchell Cole died, a stone’s throw from his mother’s flat where he grew up and where that evening his son and pregnant wife first received the news that he’d collapsed on the pitch.Mitchell’s family always had in the back of their minds that one day a call may come; that their son, husband, father, and brother would go down and not get up again. Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! The game he was playing that night drew heavily on the local north London community that Mitchell was from. He and his brother Ben would gather there with their cousins and childhood friends. Mitchell, a prodigy, was by far the pick of the bunch. He was much better than the rest but that hardly mattered.They took it seriously but not seriously enough to stand in the way of a pint or two being sunk together, in sweaty gear, at the pub next door when it was all over.Ben sat it out that night, enjoying a meal with a friend instead. That Ben Cole didn’t play that night was probably for the best.The participants could see their breath that night when they kicked off and it was one of those games that was slow to get going in the cold. By then it was just after eight o’clock, barely five minutes after the game started. And those who saw Mitchell collapse say he went over slowly.Mitchell Cole travelled widely as an aspiring professional and played his football all over the world; in Japan, in the Caribbean, in the United States. At one youth tournament in Florida he was incentivised by the promise of a pizza for every goal he scored. He scored 13 and shared them out among his team-mates. But he died right there on the pitch where he first played as a six-year old. Right there where his dad Tim gave Mitchell and his brother Ben their first little coaching sessions. Right there where the child Mitchell would escape to go and play with the men.One week a long time ago, those men saw that tiny kid come over to their pitch. He wanted to play. And they allowed him to join in, just to humour him. The next week they were fighting to have him on their side.Those pitches were where Mitchell would hone his technique and master his craft. By the time he was 12, he could kick corners straight into the goal like a professional player twice his age. He was as close to a sure thing as you were likely to find. On one hand, Mitchell Cole’s story is one of unfulfilled potential. He was finished with football by the age of 25; unknown to all but fans of those clubs further down the league he represented with style and guts.On the other hand, Mitchell Cole’s story is inspirational. It’s about a boy who, for eight years, did what no one thought he had the right to do: play football. He packed a lot into his 27 years.Mitchell’s mum used to worry that he’d never get a job, never get married, never have kids. But he did all that. Mitchell Cole lived.When he was a teenager, around 15 or 16, Mitchell collapsed three times in three months. He was away with an England youth team on one such occasion. He’d been in the shower and his father had heard a thud from the bathroom. Mitchell slumped against the other side of the door and when he came around he said he’d banged his head. That was the first warning sign. Mitchell had inherited a genetic heart problem called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. His mum Julie had never heard the words before. She went home and Googled it and cried her eyes out.It doesn’t usually come on until puberty. Then, it’s there and you have to live with it. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is an irregular thickening of the heart valve. One in 500 people are walking around with it right now and many of them don’t even know it’s there.Mitchell knew, and his family knew, and it meant he couldn’t play football anymore. Keeping fit is good for someone suffering with the condition but strenuous exercise can increase the risk of a sudden cardiac event by as much as a factor of four.He’d been on the pitch at one West Ham home game – at half-time with his dad – to sign his first professional contract. He was involved there in the pre-season picture alongside Michael Carrick and Jermain Defoe. But once the cardiomyopathy was discovered, West Ham could no longer take the risk to play him. They made a pledge to honour his contract and Mitchell got out.He’d joined West Ham young after Arsenal passed up the opportunity to sign him. He was too small they said but West Ham knew what kind of talent they had on their hands.He’d been compared to Ashley Cole in his youth – a nippy left-sider – and if you think that kind of praise is only offered in eulogies then consider the fact that the comparison was made by a man who coached them both.The West Ham rejection stung. He thought about driving a black cab. He drank. But on a family holiday he ran into the owner of Gray’s Athletic, who invited him along to train again. He liked it and it wasn’t long before he was back in the swing of the full-time game.He was quick and he worked hard but during games you’d see him take little breathers. He wasn’t lazy, though. He was working as hard as he could.After Gray’s came Southend and then Stevenage. In between Mitchell – a Gooner in a family of Spurs fans – said no to Arsenal as he didn’t want to be on the bench or in the reserves. He wanted to play. One day in 2007 he scored a goal in the first final to be held at the new Wembley Stadium as Stevenage laid claim to the FA Trophy. He sought out his mum in the stands afterwards and gave her a big hug. His dad had been due to fly out on holiday that night; in the merriment of the evening that followed he forgot to go to the airport.From the highs of Stevenage to the lows of Oxford. Things weren’t looking good. Mitchell was struggling to keep up in training and in matches. A scan at the hospital showed things had got worse with his heart. He was again out of league football.And yet he couldn’t leave the ball alone. He would do some coaching around local clubs where he had his home and he was playing some non-league. It was exercise; he wasn’t busting a gut, just enjoying his football.In 2012, he was in the Arlesey Town club house watching the FA Cup on television when he saw Fabrice Muamba collapse at White Hart Lane. That was that. He told the chairman there and then he’d never play again. He was a husband and father now and couldn’t face not being around.He took up the cardiomyopathy cause. He went to the US and spoke about life with the condition. At one event Mitchell Cole spoke alongside another cardiomyopathy patient called Cole Mitchell.He went on TV, on the radio, talking about his heart condition and you can see some of the footage still on YouTube. On one video, you can see a user has left the comment “RIP Daddy” underneath.Because Mitchell played professionally, his family still find some comfort in the fact that his voice and image can be found online. It is a solace that is not available to everyone who is bereaved.But it’s bittersweet.Mitchell Cole would be 33 now. Wayne Rooney, with whom he played at England schoolboy level, is still enjoying his football and life with his family. Instead, it’s the sixth anniversary of Cole’s death.He’d retired but he still enjoyed his Friday night game. He’d drive into London, spend time with the family and catch up with his friends. Mitchell left his mother’s flat around a quarter to eight that night and walked for the last time to the pitch just across the road.Mum Julie already had her Christmas tree up and the Coles were looking forward to a new arrival. Mitchell and wife Charley’s third child was born one week to the day after he died.That same day Ben, along with some of Mitchell’s cousins and his friends got together for one more game, because nobody wanted the last game they all played together to be the one where they lost him.You can walk past the pitches today and see people enjoying their game. You’d never know about that night he fell down there, about the ambulance arriving, just as his mother always feared would happen. You’d never know that the last place Mitchell Cole played football was the first place Mitchell Cole played football. It was here on a freezing Friday night, looking out on Mitchell St, across the road from home.
Tottenham open contract talks with Jan Vertonghenby Paul Vegas24 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveTottenham have opened talks with Jan Vertonghen over a new contract.The key central defender is out of contact at the end of the season, when he could leave for nothing.But discussions over a new deal are underway, though there is an apprehension from Spurs to offer the 32-year-old anything over a 12 month deal given his age, says the Daily Mail.However, the fact Moussa Sissoko, who turned 30 in August, signed a four-year contract last week is likely to be a key bargaining tool for Vertonghen as he looks for a longer deal.Vertonghen said yesterday: “I feel like I still have a couple of good years left in me. That’s definitely how I’m feeling now. I hope I can help the team for as long as I can.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
Mislintat: Arsenal striker Aubameyang too selfless to play for elite clubby Paul Vegas12 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveStuttgart chief Sven Mislintat says Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is too selfless to play for an elite club.Aubameyang has been linked with Real Madrid and Barcelona throughout his career.But former Gunners scout Mislintat, who signed the striker from Borussia Dortmund, was quoted by The Athletic saying: “He is one, maybe the only one, this exceptional top striker, who is an absolute team player.”Perhaps this attitude cost him the opportunity to play for clubs like Real Madrid or Barcelona.”A striker like Neymar or (Sergio) Aguero, for example, would never give up a penalty. I like his attitude. He is good for the team atmosphere.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say