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Southern Connecticut State University gymnast dies after training accident

Courtesy Southern Connecticut State University(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) -- A Connecticut university community is mourning the loss of a young gymnast who died over the weekend after suffering from a training accident, her school announced Monday.

Melanie Coleman, a 20-year-old junior at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, died after sustaining a spinal injury while practicing on Friday.

It's still unclear how the accident occurred, but the school said Coleman fell during a routine training exercise on the uneven bars. She was rushed to Yale-New Haven Hospital where she died Sunday.

Coleman was an all-state gymnast at Jonathan Law High School in Milford, Connecticut, her hometown, and was pursuing a nursing degree at SCSU.

"This has been devastating to her coaches and teammates and we hope to support them in this very difficult time," Southern Connecticut State University Director of Athletics Jay Moran said in a statement Monday. "Melanie was a very bright student, an excellent athlete and involved member of the Southern Connecticut community. The entire Southern athletics family is greatly saddened by her loss."

Last year, she was honored by USA Gymnastics as an All-America scholar-athlete, and was also recognized by Women's Collegiate Gymnastics Association as a scholastic All-American, the university said in a statement Monday.

"We are heartbroken and stunned by Melanie's passing," Southern Connecticut State University gymnastics head coach, Mary Fredericks, said in the statement. "She was an incredibly hard worker and a sweet-spirited young woman. Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to her family at this time. The SCSU Gymnastics team will miss her greatly though she will always be with us."

The family set up a GoFundMe campaign, which had raised nearly $35,000 as of Monday evening, easily exceeding its $10,000 goal.


Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Dallas Cowboys name black cat a starter in NFL game

Allen Kee / ESPN Images(DALLAS) -- The Dallas Cowboys have added an internet celebrity to its starting lineup.

Yesterday, "America's team" announced the NFL’s black cat as a starter during the Sunday night game versus the Minnesota Vikings.

The feline famously stormed the field during the Cowboys versus New York Giants game last week at MetLife Stadium, much to the delight of the crowd and now the internet.

Tonight's #DallasCowboys starters... *wait for it#SNF | #MINvsDAL pic.twitter.com/P001S9Yumh

— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) November 11, 2019

The Cowboys tweeted the announcement Sunday with a video revealing the starting lineup. The video ends with a picture of the team’s “MVP Rally Cat” with a graphic of the Cowboys star in its eyes.

The cat also sports the No. 9 jersey in a nod to the creature’s numerous lives as well as to the jersey number of former Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.

Still reppin’ the cat 🔥🤟🏾 @thejaylonsmith | #HotBoyz pic.twitter.com/0KZ3NbxGqm

— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) November 10, 2019

Both fans and players alike appear to support the animal. Linebacker Jaylon Smith rolled into the AT&T stadium before the game wearing a custom "Black Cat" t-shirt, plugging the de facto mascot.

Unfortunately for the Cowboys, even the black cat’s luck -- and ability to outrun state troopers -- wasn’t enough this time. The Vikings won 28-24.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


2 horses dead, 1 injured after racing day at Del Mar racetrack in Southern California

cmannphoto/iStock(DEL MAR, Calif.) -- Two horses died and another was injured in the same racing day at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in Southern California.

The first thoroughbred, Ghost Street, suffered a catastrophic injury to its left front sesamoid during the third race of the day on the turf course, according to the track. The horse was then "humanely euthanized."

We are sad to confirm that in today’s third race on the turf course Ghost Street suffered a catastrophic injury to his left front sesamoid and was humanely euthanized.

We are deeply sorry for owner Aaron Sones, trainer Patrick Gallagher, his staff and everyone who cared for him.

— Del Mar Racetrack (@DelMarRacing) November 10, 2019

Ghost Street was a 3-year-old gelding, ABC San Diego affiliate KGTV reported.

Another thoroughbred, Prayer Warrior, was also euthanized after it was injured during the sixth race on the main track, according to the track, but the details of the injury were not released.

Zoe Metz, a member of the family that owned Prayer Warrior, wrote on Twitter that the horse was "loved by everyone."

"The barn will definitely not be the same without him," she wrote.

It’s with a heavy heart to say that we unfortunately lost Prayer Warrior this afternoon. He was loved by everyone. The barn will definitely not be the same without him. Thank you to everyone for reaching out. 🖤 pic.twitter.com/9Wadcwnr3f

— Zoe Metz (@_zoemetz) November 10, 2019

The horse that was injured, Princess Dorian, suffered an injury to her left front leg during the second race on the main track and was transported to the San Luis Rey Equine hospital for further care, according to the track.

The incidents happened within 90 minutes of each other, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Before Sunday, which was Del Mar's third day of the fall meet, the track had not seen a single death in 2019, unlike 115 miles north in Santa Anita Park, where 37 horses died since December.

After the last death occurred during the Breeder's Cup, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., called for increased transparency at racetracks to ensure the safety of horses, as well as for racing to be suspended at Santa Anita.

The track did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

"Safety is everything here," Joe Harper, CEO of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club told KGTV on Friday.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Miami Heat suspend Dion Waiters 10 games over 'very scary situation'

Tar_Heel_Rob/iStock(MIAMI) -- Miami Heat shooting guard Dion Waiters has been suspended 10 games without pay over what the team described as a "very scary situation" that occurred last Thursday night.

Citing sources, ESPN reports the situation involved the 27-year-old experiencing a "panic attack" aboard a team flight to Los Angeles after he consumed an edible infused with THC.

"We are very disappointed in Dion's actions this season that include the very scary situation on Thursday night, and grateful that the outcome wasn't worse," the Heat said in a statement Sunday.

"There have been a number of instances this season in which Dion has engaged in conduct detrimental to the team. Accordingly, he will be suspended without pay for 10 games, including the [Los Angeles] Lakers game last Friday, and will be eligible to return after the Golden State Warriors game on November 29th," the statement continued.

Waiters was previously suspended by Miami for taking to social media to voice his frustrations about his place on the team. That suspension cost him playing in the Heat's first game of the season last month.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Scoreboard roundup -- 11/10/19

iStock(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Sunday's sports events:

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
Denver 100 Minnesota 98 -- OT
Indiana 109 Orlando 102
Philadelphia 114 Charlotte 106
Milwaukee 121 Oklahoma City 119
Cleveland 108 New York 87
Phoenix 138 Brooklyn 112
Portland 124, Atlanta 113  -- OT
Toronto 113,  L.A. Lakers 104

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE
Florida 6, NY Rangers 5 -- SO
Winnipeg 3, Dallas 2 -- OT
New Jersey 2, Vancouver 1
Detroit 3, Vegas 2
Philadelphia 3, Boston 2 -- SO
Chicago 5, Toronto 4
Edmonton 6, Anaheim 2

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
Baltimore 49, Cincinnati 13
Cleveland 19, Buffalo 16
Atlanta 26, New Orleans 9
NY Jets 34, NY Giants 27
Tennessee 35, Kansas City 32
Tampa Bay 30, Arizona 27
Chicago 20, Detroit 13
Miami 16, Indianapolis 12
Pittsburgh 17, L.A. Rams 12
 Green Bay 24, Carolina 16
Minnesota 28, Dallas 24

TOP-25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Florida St. 63, Florida 51
Louisville 78, Youngstown St. 55
Ohio St. 76, Mass.-Lowell 56
Virginia 65, James Madison 34
Michigan St. 100, Binghamton 47
Arizona 90, Illinois 69

MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
Seattle 3, Toronto FC 1

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Scoreboard roundup -- 11/9/19

iStock(NEW YORK) --  Here are the scores from yesterday's sports events:
 
   NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
 Final  Boston         135  San Antonio   115
 Final  New Orleans    115  Charlotte     110
 Final  Houston        117  Chicago       94
 Final  Dallas         138  Memphis       122
 Final  Oklahoma City  114  Golden State  108
  
   NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE
 Final  N-Y Islanders   2  Florida       1
 Final  Tampa Bay       5  Buffalo       3
 Final  Montreal        3  Los Angeles   2
 Final  Ottawa          4  Carolina      1
  Final SO  Pittsburgh      3  Chicago       2
  Final SO  Philadelphia    3  Toronto       2
 Final  Washington      5  Vegas         2
 Final  Minnesota       4  Arizona       3
 Final  Colorado        4  Columbus      2
  Final OT  St. Louis       3  Calgary       2
  Final SO  San Jose        2  Nashville     1
   TOP-25 COLLEGE FOOTBALL
  (23)SMU         59  East Carolina      51
  (11)Baylor      29  TCU                23
  (13)Minnesota   31  (5)Penn St.        26
  (3)Ohio St.     73  Maryland           14
  (10)Florida     56  Vanderbilt          0
  Virginia Tech   36  (22)Wake Forest    17
  (17)Cincinnati  48  UConn               3
  Texas           27  (20)Kansas St.     24
  (1)LSU          46  (2)Alabama         41
  (16)Wisconsin   24  (18)Iowa           22
  (6)Georgia      27  Missouri            0
  (15)Notre Dame  38  Duke                7
  (4)Clemson      55  NC State           10
  (9)Oklahoma     42  Iowa St.           41
  (21)Boise St.   20  Wyoming            17
  Nevada          17  (24)San Diego St.  13

   TOP-25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL
  (12)Seton Hall  74  Stony Brook      57
  Texas           70  (23)Purdue       66
  (8)Gonzaga      110  Ark.-Pine Bluff  60
  (13)Texas Tech  79  Bethune-Cookman  44
  (7)Maryland     73  Rhode Island     55
  (15)Oregon      106  Boise St.        75

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserve


LeBron James defends Ohio State's Chase Young amid suspension

jetcityimage/iStock(COLUMBUS, OH) -- LeBron James on Saturday voiced support for Ohio State football defensive star Chase Young, who was suspended by the university and later said it was because he borrowed money from a family friend.

Young said Friday on Twitter that he would not be playing this week "because of an NCAA eligibility issue."

The junior defensive end called his decision to accept the loan "a mistake" and said he repaid it in full last summer.

Sources told ESPN that money from Young's loan was used to help fly his girlfriend to attend the Rose Bowl.

James, a former Cleveland Cavalier and Ohio native, defended Young and criticized the National Collegiate Athletic Association in a series of tweets.

"The fact Chase Young even had to borrow money from a family member just so his girlfriend could come see him play in one of the biggest games of his life (Rose Bowl) should tell you all you need to know," James wrote in a tweet. "And since y’all always wanna know more he paid it back to his family member."

In another post, James said, "They don't care about them kids at all. Only about how they can make them [money]," referring to the NCAA.

The NCAA declined to comment on James' remarks when reached by ABC News.

It is a school's decision to play, or not play, an athlete, according to the NCAA. The organization is waiting to hear back from Ohio State as to whether Young did violate any rules, and if a violation did occur, the association would then decide how long the suspension will last.

Ohio State self-reported the potential violation, according to the NCAA.

The Ohio State Department of Athletics said in a statement that Young would sit out for Saturday's game against the Maryland Terrapins "due to a possible NCAA issue from 2018 that the Department of Athletics is looking into."

The suspension comes a little more than a week after the NCAA decided to break its long-held rule of forbidding student-athletes from earning income by voting unanimously to allow them to profit from their names, images and likenesses.

Young, a Maryland native, is considered a potential No. 1 pick in the upcoming 2020 NFL draft.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


LeBron James' school to build transitional housing for students' families in need

4nadia/iStock(AKRON, OH) -- NBA superstar LeBron James is not only helping kids from his hometown receive an education, but he’s also making sure families have the necessary support to succeed outside the classroom.

The Los Angeles Lakers franchise player announced Monday that his I Promise School in Akron, Ohio, is partnering with Graduate Hotels to launch the I Promise Village -- a transitional housing opportunity for families in need.

The public school, which incorporates a STEM-based curriculum, is operated by the LeBron James Family Foundation and Akron Public Schools. It first opened its doors in 2018 and currently includes more than 340 students in third, fourth and fifth grades.

For Britney Bennett, a 32-year-old mother living in Akron, stable housing is something she’s tirelessly fighting to secure for her three children.

On Tuesday, Bennett told ABC News that this opportunity would be especially beneficial for her 9-year-old daughter, Trinity Thomas, a fourth-grader at the I Promise School.

Bennett and her children currently live in a local shelter after she lost their apartment nearly two years ago and fell behind on the rent while living on a $8.25 an hour wage.

She said that her children, the youngest being a 1 year old, have juggled between the shelter and staying overnight with their grandmother until they find a permanent place to live.

Bennett, a high school dropout who later earned her GED and studied at The Milan Institute of Cosmetology, said there were a rough couple of months and remembers having to change clothes in her car. Her daughter, Trinity, consoled her mother as she watched her cry about their current circumstances.

"I feel bad as a mom. ... My baby shouldn’t have to go through that," Bennett said.

James, the former Cleveland Cavaliers MVP player who helped lead the team to their 2016 championship victory, is an Akron native who empathizes with stable housing.

The I Promise Village is set to officially open before the next academic school year in July. Renovations on the historic Westmont apartment building, which is roughly five blocks from the school in Akron's Highland Square neighborhood, will be underway soon.

In his 2010 book, "LeBron's Dream Team: How Four Friends and I Brought a Championship Home," he wrote about his mother, Gloria’s, challenges that resulted with them having to move a dozen times by age 10.

In the fourth grade, James said he missed 83 days of school, but still held on to his "big dreams."

"It was mentally challenging. ... No kid at 8,9 should have stress. And I was one of those kids, so I know exactly what those kids today are going through being a part of this,” James told ESPN ahead of the school’s opening last year.

Michele Campbell, the executive director of the LeBron James Family Foundation, believes that James’ extraordinary investment into the students stems from the fact that "he sees himself" in them.

"When our students have to worry about where they’re going to lay their heads ... going from pillow to pillow, it creates issues. … And unfortunately, when kids face those challenges, it comes out in their behavior,” said Victoria McGee, director of the I PROMISE School’s Family Resource Center.

McGee called the school a "one-stop shop" for its list of resources and said that the new housing plan is just an expansion of that.

Resources for students include a free food pantry, clothing, transportation, financial literacy programs, mental health services and free annual eye exams.

Among the school’s new additions are a media lab and a colorful outdoor basketball court. In October, 90 students and their families were given free eyeglasses and offered follow-up care along with replacement services.

The LeBron James Family Foundation confirmed to ABC News that no specific families have been selected yet for the I Promise Village. It will include approximately 20 families that are in immediate need of housing.

For Bennett, just the sheer possibility is enough to be grateful for. She hopes to one day have the chance to tell James how "amazing" he is.

Bennett said she would like to tell James: "What you’re doing is out of this world to me and I feel like it’s a blessing.

The investment into the students already appears to be paying off.

In April, 90% of the inaugural class met or exceeded their reading and math scores and outpaced their peers across the district, according to The New York Times.

The incredible achievement is especially remarkable considering most of the students were once deemed some of the worst academic performers and previously ranked in the bottom 25th percentile.

McGee, a graduate of the University of Akron, spent two decades working in the criminal justice system before she joined the team at the I Promise School. The Cleveland native called her job a chance to serve as an "agent of change" for local families.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Tiger Woods chooses himself, three others to join US Presidents Cup team

Photo by Scott Clarke / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) -- Tiger Woods has chosen himself as one of the 12 golfers who will represent the U.S. Presidents Cup team when they face off against an international squad in Australia next month.

Woods, the captain of the team, also picked Tony Finau, Gary Woodland and Patrick Reed to be his teammates.

"The players, they wanted me to play in the event,'' Woods, 43, told reporters Thursday at his restaurant in Jupiter, Florida. "It's going to be difficult, but I also have three amazing assistants in Fred [Couples], Stricks [Steve Stricker] and Zach [Johnson]. So that helps a lot."

Brooks Koepka, Matt Kuchar, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele and Webb Simpson finish out the 12-man team.

The United States is considered the favorite to win the event, which will take place from Dec. 12-15.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Scoreboard roundup -- 11/7/19

iStock(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Thursday's sports events:

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
Boston 108, Charlotte 87
San Antonio 121, Oklahoma City 112
Miami 124, Phoenix 108
L.A. Clippers 107, Portland 101

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE
NY Rangers 4, Carolina 2
Washington 5, Florida 4 -- OT
Pittsburgh 4, NY Islanders 3 -- OT
Philadelphia 3, Montreal 2 -- OT
Toronto 2, Vegas 1 -- OT
Ottawa 3, Los Angeles 2 -- OT
Chicago 5, Vancouver 2
Calgary 5, New Jersey 2
Colorado 9, Nashville 4
Columbus 3, Arizona 2
San Jose 5, Minnesota 5

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
Oakland 26, L.A. Chargers 24

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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