The Chatter

John Urschel Truly Has a Good Head on His Shoulders

And other news in Baltimore sports this week.

By Ron Cassie | July 28, 2017, 3:25 pm

The Chatter

John Urschel Truly Has a Good Head on His Shoulders

And other news in Baltimore sports this week.

By Ron Cassie | July 28, 2017, 3:25 pm

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John Urschel truly has a good head on his shoulders.  Baltimore Ravens guard John Urschel began pursuing a Ph.D in applied mathematics last year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. But yesterday, we learned that he truly has a good head on his shoulders. 

Following the release of a damning study in which all but one of the 111 brains of former National Football League players showed signs of the frightening degenerative brain disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the 26-year-old announced he was retiring from the sport.

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Urschel isn’t the first to retire from the NFL because of well-founded fears of long-term, irreversible brain injury. Former Stanford and Buffalo Bills linebacker A.J. Tarpley retired at 23-year-old last year after several concussions. Promising San Francisco 49er linebacker Chris Borland retired in 2015 after just one season rather than risk permanent damage to his brain. Also this week, Patriots wide receiver Andrew Hawkings announced he was retiring, saying he would be donating his brain for CTE research.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that the results of the recent study weren’t great for those who only played football in high school and college, either. 

If things weren't bad enough, Flacco suffers back injury.
While lifting weights at home in New Jersey, Ravens' quarterback Joe Flacco injured his back. During day one of training camp, the injury flared up. Following an orthopedic surgeon's examination, Flacco will sit out from practice for one week. In the meantime, coach John Harbaugh teased the idea of signing free agent Colin Kaepernick, but the team instead signed Arena Football League David Olson. 

Chase Kalisz is picking up where Phelps left off. 
Bel Air’s Chase Kalisz captured the 200-meter individual world title this week in Budapest, an event previously owned by Michael Phelps, who won the 200-meter individual medley at the last FOUR Olympic Games.

“When I had the opportunity to step into the 200m IM, it was an honor,” Kalisz told NBCSN.  


The entire Maryland women’s basketball team will represent the U.S. next month at the World University Games.
For the just the second time, an entire women’s college hoops team will rep the U.S. at the biennial World University Games, which are being held in Taipei this year. The Terps, who lost their two stars, Shatori Walker-Kimbrough and Brionna Jones to graduation and the WNBA (Walker-Kimbrough was selected in the draft by the Washington Mystics), started practice in June to prepare. It’ll be interesting to see how this new-look Terps squad does in Taipei—the medal round begins August 25—and, of course, if all the preseason work helps them get off to a strong start once their regular season begins. 

The Terp women, lest anyone forget, have won or tied for the Big Ten Conference championship each of the last three years.

Baltimore gymnast makes a name for himself.
Donnell Whittenburg, the Baltimore native and U.S. national team athlete we wrote about last year as tried to make the Olympic team, recently added a new move to his repertoire—and the sport. The powerful Whittenburg nailed a triple pike dismount from the still rings, which you can check below, for the first time in the sport’s history at the FIG World Challenge Cup in Koper, Slovenia. Afterward, the move was promptly nicknamed “The Whittenburg.”

The likeable gymnast’s larger goal is the 2020 Olympic Games—which means he still has time to perfect “The Whittenburg,” too.

Meet The Author
Ron Cassie is a senior editor for Baltimore, where he covers the environment, education, medicine, politics, and city life.

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