(NEW YORK) — A 16-year-old softball player with cerebral palsy has gained thousands of social media followers sharing her recovery efforts after a major leg surgery.
Throughout her life, Charlie Duffy has had over 20 surgeries to help correct pain and walking issues affecting the left side of her body — a subtype of the condition known as hemiplegic cerebral palsy.
Cerebral palsy can affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. It’s the most common motor disability among children, according to the Centers for Disease Control. It’s estimated that 1 in 345 children in the United States have been diagnosed with the development disorder.
“There’s always that, ‘What if I might not be able to walk or do things on my own?’ And I kind of beat the odds,” Duffy told “GMA3.”
For the teen, playing softball has been a source of motivation. She said feels a “rush of adrenaline” whenever she makes a play or gets a hit.
She was in PE class one day when she noticed that her foot was turning in again as she walked, which would require another surgery to correct. In May, surgeons cut Duffy’s femur in half, rotated it and secured it with a plate.
Before the surgery, Duffy’s Instagram posts were about her softball workouts. Now, she needed something new to post about.
“I just posted a video of me getting out of bed after my surgery, just so people can who are following my softball journey know that softball is not the only part of my life. And that kind of blew up unexpectedly,” Duffy said.
Duffy now has over 100,000 followers on Instagram, where she shares snippets of her life and recovery progress. The mental aspect has been almost hard as the physical, she said.
“You’re competing with yourself and your thoughts. And I think so many people dealing with injuries don’t take that into account,” Duffy said.
Symptoms of cerebral palsy vary from person to person, depending on which parts of the brain have been affected, and may even change over a person’s lifetime, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
“I just hope that one person can realize they’re going through this battle with a whole community rallying around them,” Duffy said.
When Duffy was cleared to do certain softball-related exercises after surgery, she said she felt like her true self again. She’s looking forward to getting back on the field.
“I hope to continue to grow my platform to get the word out to people. And I hope to be back playing softball soon and really doing what I love,” Duffy said.
(NEW YORK) — Here are the scores from Tuesday’s sports events:
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL SPRING TRAINING
Miami 1, Houston 0
Baltimore 7, Pittsburgh 6
Cincinnati 5, Kansas City 3
Pittsburgh 2, Minnesota 2
St. Louis 3, Houston 3
Tampa Bay 7, Minnesota 4
Final Detroit 6, Boston 2
LA Angels 8, Cleveland 6
Seattle 8, Kansas City 6
Chi White Sox 5, Oakland 4
NY Yankees 10, Toronto 3
Washington 5, NY Mets 0
Atlanta 15, Philadelphia 5
San Francisco 7, Arizona 6
Colorado 5, Chi Cubs 2
NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
Washington 117, Detroit 97
Cleveland 120, Charlotte 104
Toronto 125, Denver 110
San Antonio 132, Orlando 114
LA Lakers 123, New Orleans 108
Oklahoma City 121, Brooklyn 107
New York 123, Portland 107
Milwaukee 116, Phoenix 104
NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE
Columbus 6, San Jose 5 (OT)
Los Angeles 5, NY Islanders 2
Carolina 5, Winnipeg 3
Vegas 5, Philadelphia 3
Tampa Bay 4, New Jersey 1
Montreal 6, Pittsburgh 4
NY Rangers 5, Washington 3
Nashville 2, Detroit 1
Chicago 6, Boston 3
Edmonton 6, Ottawa 3
Vancouver 5, Dallas 2
Arizona 4, Calgary 3 (OT)
(NEW YORK) — Starr Andrews recently made history as the first Black woman to medal at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in 35 years.
The 21-year-old skater has been open about her push to bring more diversity to the sport and inspire others.
She spoke with ABC News Live Monday about her pewter medal win at the event and representation in the sport.
ABC NEWS LIVE: And a huge congratulations to you on recently becoming the first Black woman to medal at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in 35 years. So how did that feel in that moment? We’re showing your picture right now on your knees, hand to your head, just seemingly in disbelief.
STARR ANDREWS: It was an amazing experience and I’ve been to a good few national championships. So this one, it just felt so special. And the first time I ever skated at senior level, which is the highest level you can skate, is in San Jose. And we were back in San Jose earlier this year and I was super excited to have medaled there. My first senior U.S. Championship medal ever, so I was really excited.
ABC NEWS LIVE: Understandably so. Talk to me about your journey to figure skating. How did you start and what motivated you to continue?
ANDREWS: So I started at the young age of three and a half, and my mom introduced me since I could walk; very, very small. I loved it as soon as I saw my mom skating. I was like, it looks so fun and I want to get out there. And once she put me on those skates and got me on the ice, I just loved it. And I still love it so much to this day, just like how I was when I first learned about figure skating. And I think that my journey has been long and I’m definitely still going through my journey, but it’s all been very exciting and just I just love it so much.
ABC NEWS LIVE: We can tell just right from the start. You were such a natural and early on in your career you were diagnosed with super ventricular tachycardia, which causes your heart to beat much faster than normal. How has your experience with SVT influenced your approach to training and competition and what steps you take to manage your condition while skating?
ANDREWS: I was, I wasn’t diagnosed until a year ago. The first time I ever had that experience, I was 12 years old and I went undiagnosed for a long time. The doctor told me that I was fine and that it didn’t happen long enough for it to be a problem. I knew it was a problem because it wasn’t a normal thing to happen to just anybody. And one time it happened at a very big competition and, unfortunately, I had to pull out of the competition.
I think from the moment my mom was like, OK, we really need to figure out what this is, because if it’s going to affect huge competitions like this, imagine if it’s if it’s at national championships or at a world championships, and it happens in your short program and you can’t finish. That would just be heartbreaking, especially because I worked so hard to get up to that point. So it was definitely something that was difficult to skate with, especially not knowing what it was for so long. But now that I know what it was and that I had the surgery, it’s been so much less stressful going to competition and not having to worry about that.
ABC NEWS LIVE: I can imagine. And thinking back on your career, what advice would you give to other young Black girls who may be interested in pursuing figure skating or other sports, but just may not see people who look like them in those spaces?
ANDREWS: I would just tell them to do what you love and believe in yourself. You can do anything you put your mind up to and don’t ever doubt yourself because I feel like I did that for a little while and there’s really no reason to. Just believe in yourself.
ABC NEWS LIVE: Good advice there. Before we let you go, what are your future goals and plans in figure skating and what steps are you taking toward them?
ANDREWS: My future goals are definitely to make it to the next Olympic Games. That’s my No. 1 goal. And I have little goals in between that to medal more at competitions and just to keep inspiring little girls and little boys out there who want to also ice skate or do anything that they put their minds up to.
ABC NEWS LIVE: Are you seeing some progress when it comes to minorities becoming ice skaters?
ANDREWS: I am. There are a lot of communities and a lot of organizations that are coming together and definitely making sure that there’s more diversity in ice skating. And I love it. It’s something that I never saw when I was younger. So it’s great to see it happening now and see it changing.
(NEW YORK) — Kara Goucher, one of the fastest female long-distance runners in American history, describes a “secret world” of professional running in her new memoir.
“Running is life-changing,” Goucher told Good Morning America. “It’s given me so much freedom and strength and power.”
In her new memoir, The Longest Race: Inside the Secret World of Abuse, Doping, and Deception on Nike’s Elite Running Team, Goucher says for the first time publicly that she is the woman behind the sexual assault allegations that led to her former coach Alberto Salazar to be banned from the sport for life in 2021.
“Alberto Salazar was very, very powerful. He was a legend. He won the Boston Marathon. He won the New York City Marathon three years in a row,” said Goucher, who added that as she got to know him, she liked him more.
Goucher said she first met Salazar in 2004 when she and her now-husband were approached by Nike to join the prestigious running team “The Oregon Project,” an immersive training environment for an elite team of athletes.
“We just couldn’t believe this program, all of the money behind it, all of the equipment behind it. I became the first woman to join and I was just excited with that backing,” she said. “Where could I take my running?”
She said she realized that the opportunity could turn into something more and that Salazar could help her get to the Olympics.
“At first I just wanted something new, but the longer I was there, I really believed that he was the person that could get me there, so much so that later on I felt like I was nothing without him,” said Goucher, who went on to represent the United States in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Olympics.
Goucher said that while she made great strides with Salazar and was running some of her fastest times, she rationalized what she said was unusual — Salazar sometimes personally massaging his athletes.
“I had never seen a coach give an athlete a massage,” she said. “And so I just thought, ‘That’s Alberto. He’s just so dedicated. He’s even willing to give his athletes massages.'”
Adding, “It was unusual at first, but I kind of convinced myself that that was normal.”
Goucher said she felt something was wrong when she was in Rieti, Italy, for a race and she said she found herself alone in a hotel room with Salazar.
“He was giving me a post-workout, pre-race, what he would call a ‘flush,'” said Goucher. “If I’m being honest, I just totally froze. I was thinking, ‘There’s no way he’s touching me like that. I’m imagining this. He’s just a bad masseuse.'”
Goucher said a similar incident happened years later while the two were in Lisbon for a race.
“He goes to give me a massage, it was the same situation where I felt his finger was going where it shouldn’t be going. And I was so uncomfortable,” she said.
At the time, Goucher said she didn’t tell anyone about the massage.
“I felt shameful about it. I also felt like maybe it was just a mistake,” she said.
Goucher left The Oregon Project in 2011 and said she never spoke about the alleged assaults until she was questioned by lawyers about doping allegations brought against Salazar by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. In 2019, Salazar was suspended for four years by that agency for doping violations — allegations he has denied.
In 2021, the U.S. Center for SafeSport, a governing body to protect professional athletes from sexual abuse, banned Salazar from the sport at the Olympic level for life for “sexual misconduct.” The organization did not identify the accuser and the New York Times later reported that an arbitrator’s ruling indicated the ban was based on a finding of violations that included two instances of inappropriate touching during an athletic massage. In her memoir, Goucher says she testified for SafeSport about the alleged touching by Salazar and that her allegations were the basis for the lifetime ban.
Nike said in a statement to ABC News, in part, “Sexual misconduct has no place in sports or society and is something we stand vehemently against…. Alberto is no longer a contracted coach, and we shuttered the Oregon Project several years ago … Mr. Salazar did not engage in any doping of his athletes and not a single Oregon Project athlete was found to have violated the rules.”
Salazar also told ABC News, in part, “Any claim that Ms. Goucher was sexually assaulted by me is categorically untrue…. I have never sexually assaulted Ms. Goucher and never would have done so. The accusation is deeply hurtful and abhorrent and contrary to my fundamental beliefs as a husband, father and deeply devout Catholic.”
Goucher says she has mixed feelings knowing Salazar will not participate in the sport at the highest levels again.
“Honestly, it makes me a little sad because I know how much he loves it. I think that’s his whole life,” she said. “But at the end of the day, he should not be coaching.”
Goucher wrote in her book that ultimately her power is not in her legs — but in her voice.
“It is my responsibility to use my voice,” she said, “and to fight for other people.”
Statement from Nike
Sexual misconduct has no place in sports or society and is something we stand vehemently against. As a company, we’ve always taken great pride as a leader in supporting female athletes. We know that Nike can continue to play an elevated role in supporting female athletes and improving their experience in sports.
Alberto is no longer a contracted coach, and we shuttered the Oregon project several years ago. In July 2021, we were informed of a preliminary decision from the U.S. Center for SafeSport to ban Mr. Salazar from coaching for “Sexual Misconduct & Emotional Misconduct.” Following SafeSport’s decision, we changed the Alberto Salazar building name at our World Headquarters to Next%.
Nike does not condone the use of banned substances in any manner. The doping allegations have been extensively investigated and arbitrated. In 2021 a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) panel reaffirmed that Mr. Salazar did not engage in any doping of his athletes and not a single Oregon Project athlete was found to have violated the rules.
Statement from Alberto Salazar
Any claim that Ms. Goucher was sexually assaulted by me is categorically untrue. I am deeply saddened by Ms. Goucher’s false claim. I worked with Ms. Goucher as her coach for nearly seven years, from October 2004 to September 2011, when Ms. Goucher was 26 to 33 years old. We had a strong professional relationship, and Ms. Goucher and her husband became friends with my wife and family during the time we worked together. Ms. Goucher achieved a number of professional successes during my coaching of her, but when I became unable to provide the coaching and support that Ms. Goucher needed to achieve her goals, Ms. Goucher left and retained another coach. I have never sexually assaulted Ms. Goucher and never would have done so. The accusation is deeply hurtful and abhorrent and contrary to my fundamental beliefs as a husband, father and deeply devout Catholic.
(ROCK HILL, S.C.) — Friday night high school football games are an American tradition. But only one town — Rock Hill, South Carolina — calls itself “Football City.” That’s because the city of 75,000 says it has turned out more NFL players per capita than any other place in the U.S.
From just a handful of high schools have come nearly two dozen players who later turned pro. That reputation spurs big dreams for the high school stars hoping to become tomorrow’s next pro athletes.
J’Zavien Currence, 14, is one of those standout players. A freshman at South Pointe High School, he’s starting varsity on one of the best teams in Rock Hill. He’s top ranked not only in South Carolina, but the entire country.
For J’Zavien, football is a family affair. Jay Currence, J’Zavien’s dad and coach, also played football growing up in Rock Hill. Some of his teammates went on to the NFL, including cornerback Derek Ross and tight end Ben Watson.
But even for the best young players, the dream of turning pro doesn’t usually materialize. About 7% of high school football players nationwide go on to play in college. Only 1.5% of college players make it to the NFL, according to the NCAA.
Jibrille Fewell was one of those kids who bet everything on football. He grew up in College Downs, a historically Black, low-income neighborhood in Rock Hill. He became a standout player in high school, and a football scholarship paid for his college education.
But when Fewell didn’t make it to the NFL, he came back to Rock Hill, and his mental health took a turn for the worse.
“I felt like a failure, and I didn’t know what was really next, so I kind of went into a dark era,” Fewell told ABC News.
Now Fewell coaches youth football. He’s trying to make sure that young athletes know how to both play the game and also have the resilience to be OK when it ends. He brings in mental health advocates and even former players to his football camps to help kids think beyond the game.
“Football in this community is only one route and everybody trying to go through that one door,” Fewell said.
Phillip Adams, another standout high school player, made it through that door. But his NFL career was plagued by injuries, including a broken ankle that required surgery and two concussions over three games. He left the NFL in 2016 and returned to Rock Hill, where he struggled with his mental and physical health.
In 2021, tragedy struck when Adams shot and killed Dr. Robert Lesslie, his wife Barbara and two of their grandchildren, along with James Lewis, an HVAC technician working in the home. Another worker, Robert Shook, was critically wounded and later died. Adams took his own life during a standoff with police.
After the incident, Boston University conducted an autopsy of Adams’ brain to determine if chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, could have played a role in the incident. The autopsy found that Adams had an “unusually severe” form of the disease.
“The combination of poor impulse control, paranoia, poor decision making, emotional volatility, rage and violent tendencies caused by frontal lobe damage could converge to lower an individual’s threshold for homicidal acts,” neuropathologist Dr. Ann McKee said at the time.
McKee noted that Adams’ football career put him at high risk for the development of CTE, a diagnosis that cannot be confirmed before death.
Recently, several high-profile injuries in the NFL, including Damar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest and Tua Tagovailoa’s concussions, have raised questions about the safety of the game and concern for the players.
The NFL has the highest rate of reported concussions among the four major U.S. professional sports leagues, stated a 2021 report in the journal Nature.
In a statement, an NFL spokesperson said the league “continues to make the game safer through better equipment, rules changes and efforts to reduce head contact,” noting that the number of concussions are “25% lower than just a few years ago.” The spokesperson also said the NFL has built a team of “world-class” medical experts on the sidelines in case of an emergency, adding that emergency action plans are in place at all NFL fields and practice facilities.
Concern for player safety is also present at the high school level, where football has the highest rate of concussions among any other sport, according to a 2019 epidemiology study published in the journal Pediatrics. Researchers compared concussions rates in 20 different high school sports from 2013 to 2018.
For Jay Currence, there’s “always that slight fear” of injury risk for his son. At the end of last season, J’Zavien sprained his ankle, taking him out of the last two games of the season, including the big game against his rival high school.
“You just try to prepare best you can, take care of your body best you can, play as safe as you can,” Currence said.
At 14 years old, J’Zavien says he already has multiple offers to play college football at Division I schools.
“We also talk about that, you’re not always going to play, and one day, they’re going to take your jersey from you and you’re going to have to be a productive person and a citizen out here, even after you play,” J’Zavien said.
The families of James Lewis and Robert Shook did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment. The Lesslie family and the Adams family declined to comment.
(NEW YORK) — Here are the scores from Monday’s sports events:
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL SPRING TRAINING
Atlanta 6, Baltimore 5
Washington 7, Houston 6
Oakland 8, Colorado 7
LA Dodgers 11, Cleveland 4
Arizona 11, Texas 8
Minnesota 1, NY Yankees 0
Baltimore 11, Detroit 7
Tampa Bay 9, Detroit 5
Toronto 16, Boston 3
LA Angels 8, Seattle 2
NY Mets 9, Miami 3
Milwaukee 8, Cincinnati 0
San Francisco 11, San Diego 9
NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
Detroit 117, Indiana 97
Minnesota 136, Atlanta 115
Memphis 104, Dallas 88
Miami 119, Utah 115
Houston 111, Boston 109
Milwaukee 133, Sacramento 124
Golden State 123, Phoenix 112
NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE
Buffalo 4, Toronto 3
Colorado 8, Montreal 4
Dallas 5, Seattle 2
(NEW YORK) — Here are the scores from Sunday’s sports events:
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
Houston 5, Miami 1
Tampa Bay 10, NY Mets 4
Toronto 8, Philadelphia 3
San Francisco 4, Oakland 3
Oakland 8, San Diego 6
Baltimore 6, Boston 4
Detroit 8, Minnesota 7
Kansas City 7, Cleveland 6
Seattle 11, Texas 10
NY Yankees 3, Boston 3
LA Angels 1, Chicago White Sox 1
St. Louis 5, Washington 1
Atlanta 11, Pittsburgh 3
Milwaukee 5, Chicago Cubs 3
LA Dodgers 8, Cincinnati 1
Arizona 10, Colorado 9
NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
Cleveland 114, Charlotte 108
Philadelphia 112, Washington 93
Oklahoma City 102, San Antonio 90
New Orleans 127, Portland 110
New York 112, LA Lakers 108
Brooklyn 122, Denver 120
NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE
Detroit 5, Boston 3
Pittsburgh 3, NY Rangers 2 (OT)
New Jersey 3, Carolina 0
Vegas 5, St. Louis 3
Winnipeg 3, Tampa Bay 2
Calgary 5, Ottawa 1
Nashville 5, Anaheim 4 (OT)
Arizona 5, Minnesota 4 (OT)
TOP 25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Memphis 75, (1)Houston 65
(4)Alabama 82, (18)Texas A&M 63
(5)Purdue 67, Penn St. 65
MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
Los Angeles FC 4, New England 0