| AIRLIFTED |
This is an article from the Jan. 23, 2012 issue
To the University of Utah hospital, after sustaining a head injury while training on Jan. 10, Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke. A four-time Winter X Games champion in superpipe skiing and a favorite for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Burke (above) remained in a coma on Monday following surgery to repair a tear in a vertebral artery that had caused bleeding in her brain. Neither the nature of Burke's accident—which occurred on the same Eagle superpipe on which three-time Winter X Games silver-medal-winning snowboarder Kevin Pearce sustained a brain injury in '10—nor her prognosis have been made available, but the skier is reportedly in critical condition while doctors do further testing and monitor her brain function.
| DECLARED |
For April's NFL draft, Heisman Trophy--winning quarterback Robert Griffin III, of Baylor. Having set or tied 54 school records, Griffin is expected to be the second passer taken after Stanford's Andrew Luck, the Heisman runner-up. Griffin (right) threw for 4,293 yards and 37 touchdowns in 2011 to lead the Bears to their first 10-win season since 1980 and their first bowl victory since '92. Having taken a medical redshirt in '09 when he tore his right ACL, he would have been eligible for a fifth season in '12. Griffin earned a bachelor's degree in political science in just three years and has been working on a master's degree in communications, which he expects to complete this spring.
| ARRESTED |
For his alleged role in a brawl with Rangers fans after the Jan. 2 Winter Classic in Philadelphia that left an off-duty police officer hospitalized with head injuries, Flyers fan Dennis Veteri. As a result of the melee, Rangers fan Neal Auricchio, a veteran of the war in Iraq, received a concussion and more than 50 stitches to his face. Afterward, a man identifying himself as Edward Neary bragged on Facebook that he and his friends were responsible for the assault but backed off when questioned by police; instead authorities have charged the 32-year-old Veteri—whom they say instigated the altercation, and whom they identified with the help of tips they received from people who had seen a video of the fight that had been posted to YouTube—with aggravated assault, conspiracy to commit aggravated assault, simple assault and reckless endangerment.
| ANNOUNCED |
By the Cubs, a renovation of Wrigley Field's rightfield bleachers that will include a new 75-foot LED scoreboard. Wrigley, the second-oldest-active major league ballpark, was the last one to add lights, in 1988, and is now the last to get an electronic scoreboard. The iconic hand-operated scoreboard in centerfield, installed in '37, is protected by local landmark status and will remain. The new digital scoreboard, which is expected to be in place by Opening Day, will display such information as pitch count, statistics and player head shots but likely will not include video or replay functions.
| FILED |
For Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, sports agent Leigh Steinberg, the inspiration for the 1996 movie Jerry Maguire. Steinberg (below), who has represented such NFL stars as Troy Aikman, Ben Roethlisberger and Steve Young, explained last week that he had struggled for years with alcohol abuse but has been sober since 2010, and that he "just lost track" of his finances while in rehab. He also said that harassment by his creditors has driven away prospective clients and made it impossible for him to climb out of debt. Last month, after he failed to appear in court on a $1.4 million debt hearing, a judge authorized, but did not issue, a bench warrant for Steinberg, who blamed his lawyer for what he termed a scheduling snafu.
| INJURED |
When he suffered back spasms while sitting down to eat pancakes that his wife, Jessica, had cooked him for breakfast before a game on Jan. 7, Kings left wing Dustin Penner, who subsequently missed one game but was back on the ice two days later. As the incident grew into a media punch line, Penner posted an open letter on the Kings' blog MayorsManor.com, referring to his injury as Sudden Onset Back Spasm. He feigned indignation that "the plight of my people isn't being taken seriously," then joked that the pancakes were "delicious" and that he's "hoping to get an endorsement from IHOP or Denny's." He says he plans to sponsor a Pancakes with Penner charity breakfast. Last year Cardinals pitcher Brian Tallet spent eight weeks on the disabled list when he hurt his rib cage while sneezing; in 2006 Tigers pitcher Joel Zumaya missed three games of the ALCS when he suffered wrist and forearm inflammation from playing the video game Guitar Hero.
Head coaches who will have led the Raiders this century, after the team hires a replacement for Hue Jackson, whom they fired (after one year) on Jan. 10.
Consecutive wins by the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena, the NHL's longest home winning streak since the 1976--77 Flyers.
Seconds remaining in No. 3 North Carolina's 90--57 drubbing at the hands of Florida State last Saturday when coach Roy Williams sent his starters and coaches to the locker room, leaving only five walk-ons on the court.
41 for 41
NBA-record combined free throw shooting by the Bucks and the Pistons during their game last Thursday, the same night that the Magic's Dwight Howard shot 21 of 39 from the line against the Warriors, breaking Wilt Chamberlain's 49-year-old mark for most attempts by one player.
Amount paid by a Wall Street businessman for a 70-foot RV—stocked with prime beef, lobster and caviar and staffed with two waitresses, a driver and a chef—to transport him and five other fans 20 hours from New York to Sunday's Giants-Packers game.
| BLOWN UP |
In the trailer for the latest Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises (in theaters July 20), Pittsburgh's Heinz Field, leaving Steelers faithful to wonder: Is director Christopher Nolan really a Browns fan? More likely, Hollywood is merely adding to its tradition of trashing sports arenas, as established in these three past blockbusters, each graded for degree of destruction.
Transformers, 2007: Good-guy robot Jazz tears through Dodger Stadium when he crash-lands from space in L.A.
Sudden Death, 1995: Jean-Claude Van Damme saves Penguins' Mellon Arena from a bombing—but not before a chopper explodes on the ice.
Godzilla, 1998: F/A-18s bomb Madison Square Garden after it's discovered that the movie monster has nested at center court.
NHL PLAYERS POLL
Who is hockey's hardest hitter?
Zdeno Chara, Bruins D 18%
Jordin Tootoo, Predators RW 15%
Cal Clutterbuck, Wild RW 11%
Douglas Murray, Sharks D 10%
Dion Phaneuf, Leafs D 8%
Chara may be feared in the East, where he has played his entire career, but Western Conferencers voted Tootoo and Murray (15% each) as the heaviest hitters... . The top 10 vote-getters average 6'2" in height; Chara, of course, is 6'9"... . Of the 15 players who received more than one vote, the Senators' Chris Neil (2.1%) has the most penalty minutes (82, ninth in the NHL)... . In a similar poll on Facebook, SI readers also named Chara (38%) the hardest hitter, just ahead of Red Wings D Niklas Kronwall (31%).
Based on 193 NHL players who responded to SI's survey