Out of Thin Air
ESPN The Magazine (on newsstands now)
Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath says hyperbaric oxygen treatments have helped improve the brain trauma he says he sustained after years of hard hits during his football career. But some medical experts remain skeptical, saying pure oxygen has no healing powers for the brain. Peter Keating reports.
“I didn’t think I had any major problems other than maybe forgetting some things. Going from one room to the next and asking myself ‘Why did I come in here?’ It behooved me to find out what’s going on with my brain.” – Joe Namath
“We’ve got three well done studies, validated, peer reviewed: it doesn’t work!” — Dr. David Cifu, national director of the office for rehabilitative programs at the Veterans Health Administration, downplaying the effectiveness of hyperbaric oxygen treatments
- “You have any concerns that this is outside the mainstream?” – Peter Keating
- “I’m concerned yes, because I know it works. Don’t tell me it doesn’t work. I know it works.” – Joe Namath
“My Wish” Series: San Francisco 49ers
With 50 sports-themed wishes fulfilled since the series began in 2006, the ESPN “My Wish” Series returns to SportsCenter for its 10th year starting Sunday. Anthony Pineda, a 14-year-old from San Bernardino, Calif., who has been battling leukemia, wants to spend time with the 49ers and get a jersey signed for his father figure who recently died after a sudden illness.
#StillStrong: Devon & Leah Still’s Journey from Cancer Diagnosis to Now
In June 2014, Leah Still was diagnosed with cancer. Since then, she’s publicly battled the disease with her dad, Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still, and together, they’ve inspired a nation. D’Arcy Maine reports.
Wednesday night, Devon presented an emotional speech in accepting the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance.
Shelley & Jake: “Cancer’s not won.”
Shelley Smith and Jake Olson in 2009 and 2015
“It was October 2009. I was assigned a story on a then 12-year old Jake Olson (befriended by the USC football team) who as a child lost his left eye to cancer. As the cancer returned, he would lose the sight in his right eye, too.”
That’s how Shelley Smith describes first meeting Jake in a feature running on SportsCenter. Now, six years later, they both reflect on dealing with, living with and fighting the diagnosis of cancer.
In between pieces, ESPN and Smith followed Jake through trials and triumphs, from his love of golf (“Playing at night because, well, when you’re blind, darkness is a constant,” Smith says in the current piece), attending high school classes, and making the football team as a long-snapper.
“It was just knowing I wasn’t alone, from a spiritual aspect, to just having my sister there with me, my parents there with me, to having you with me. I knew you cared about me and I knew the whole ESPN team cared about me. I knew USC cared about me.” – Jake Olson, telling Smith how he faced losing his sight
- “I remember you saying to me in that first interview: ‘It sucks because cancer wins.’ Has cancer won?” — Smith
- “Cancer’s not won. It definitely has not won. Cancer took a part of my body that unfortunately as humans we utilize a lot. It has not affected my spiritual side, and if anything, it’s only strengthened it.” – Olson
Beyond The Story: Things to know about ESPN’s reporting of the Jordan “tick-tock”
ESPN.com’s narrative on DeAndre Jordan’s free agency and his decision to stay with the Los Angeles Clippers after verbally committing to the Dallas Mavericks gave readers an insider’s account of the events that unfolded in what became a very public back and forth. Senior writer Ramona Shelburne and ESPN.com’s Mavericks beat writer Tim MacMahon share the backstory on how they were able to reconstruct the facts.
This week’s Panel* (Sunday, 9:30 a.m., ESPN; 10:30 a.m., ESPN2)
John Saunders, Israel Gutierrez, Mike Lupica, Bob Ryan
*Subject to change