Living up to the name "Fastest Woman Alive" is a challenge Carmelita Jeter is eager to take on. But the gold medalist has other goals in her sights, such as improving women's fitness in America and around the world. Jeter, the reigning Olympic champion in the 100 meters, stops by ThePostGame at a women's health event held by Nike to discuss her own training, the challenges women face in their daily exercise routines, and how new Nike tools can make fitness all the more attainable.

The focus on football and its connection to brain injuries continues to trend younger and younger. Prompted by reports of degenerative brain disease afflicting many NFL veterans, new research is finding that concussions and other traumatic brain injuries are most prevalent among high schoolers.

Even worse, most of those injuries are occurring not in actual games, but during practice. A new study published in JAMA pediatrics found that 57 percent of college and high school football players have suffered at least one concussion during practice.

High school football players, meanwhile, are much more likely to suffer a concussion than college athletes.

The study drew data from more than 20,000 U.S. football players in 2012 and 2013. The results were not comforting: Nearly 1,200 concussions occurred on college and high school football fields in a two-season span, with two-third of them happening among high school football players.

College athletes, meanwhile, accounted for 22 percent of the brain injuries. Another 12 percent were attributed to youth football players below high school.

Concussions accounted for a larger percentage of total football injuries among college players compared to high school athletes, registering at eight and four percent, respectively. That percentage was highest among youth football players, though, where nearly 10 percent of all injuries were concussions.

Overall, a high school player participating in any given season faces a 10 percent chance of sustaining a concussion during that year.

Those are sobering numbers for opponents of football and its inherent health risks, and it should be a cause for concern among many parents of youth football players. But perhaps evidence of the widespread danger of the sport will accelerate efforts to reform football and remove some of its most dangerous elements, in turn reducing the risk faced by these athletes.

Despite the prevalence of smokeless tobacco throughout Major League Baseball, the fight against it has been gaining more allies in recent years. Add to that list the city of San Francisco, which is hoping to pass a law banning its use locally.

The city is considering an ordinance that would ban the use of chewing tobacco at all ballparks ranging from the local Little League field to AT&T Park, where the Giants play their home games.

The ban would apply to fans and players alike. If it passes, it could be a bold step forward in severing the association between chewing tobacco and baseball.

"San Francisco will send a simple and strong message," said city supervisor Mark Farrell, according to the Los Angeles Times. "Tobacco use in sports will no longer harm our youth, our health."

Although chewing tobacco is legal, its widespread use has previously pushed MLB to seek a ban in the past. But efforts came up fruitless in collective bargaining between the league and the player's association.

In a statement, MLB said it was in support of the proposed ordinance and hopes it helps push chew out of baseball. Chewing tobacco is already banned in the minor leagues, where such rules do not have to be approved by the player's union.

A number of current and former baseball stars have also taken a more vocal role in opposing the use of smokeless tobacco. Former pitching great Curt Schilling has previously blamed his mouth cancer on his use of chew as a player. The death of Hall of Fame hitter Tony Gwynn, following a long battle with salivary gland cancer, has also been attributed to his chronic use of tobacco.

His son, Tony Gwynn, Jr., said in a recent interview on "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" that his father acknowledged later in life that tobacco had been a profoundly bad influence on his life, causing his cancer. His son said he believes his father would support a ban if he were still alive.

The L.A. Times reports that an estimated 30 percent of MLB players currently use smokeless tobacco. If the city of San Francisco gets its way, none of them will be dipping when they come to play the Giants.

And that might also mean a decline in the number of teenagers and young adults who pick up the habit after watching their role models use the drug on a daily basis.

Touching is off-limits in the Milwaukee Brewers clubhouse. It's not for any unsavory reason, unless you count pink eye.

The Brewers' clubhouse has been plagued by the infection during Spring Training, forcing several players to miss games while they undergo a quarantine for the illness. It's gotten so bad that the team has instituted a rule banning high fives among the team.

The move is an attempt to limit opportunities for the infection to be transmitted from carriers to those who haven't yet had the condition.

"We've been going through it for a while and it seems like a couple of more show up every day," said manager Ron Roenicke to USA Today.

The most recent pink eye victims on the team are catcher Jonathan Lucroy and pitching coach Rick Kranitz, who came down with the condition on Thursday.

Spring training is a particularly bad time for an infectious outbreak to occur considering the larger rosters teams are carrying. Clubhouses are even more populated than normal, and those close quarters are making the disease easier to spread among players.

The team plans to keep the high-five ban in effect until pink eye is absent from the clubhouse. Until then, everyone keep your hands to yourself.

Suppose you love basketball, food and free giveaways. Yet you're worried about how that Polish-and-Fries combo basket they serve at the arena is affecting your waist line. You could simply not eat, but what's the fun in that?

If this is your dilemma, Georgetown women's basketball has you covered. It'd like you to come down for Kale Night.

The promotional night, scheduled for Feb. 13 in a home game against Xavier, will distribute free kale to the first 100 fans -- quite the draw, indeed.


But that's not all. The team will also offer free admission to anyone with the letters K-A-L-E in their names. And their will be prize giveaways during the game as well, including gift certificates to local restaurants that feature kale on their menus.

So, as you can see, the theme is fully developed.

Georgetown's team website refers to kale as "an underrated superfood." Presumably, they're happy about using a healthy approach to attracting fans to their home games. The Hoyas women's team could certainly use a boost, as it sits 2-9 in the Big East this season.

The timing of Kale Night is interesting since McDonald's has taken aim at the mostly harmless vegetable in new commercial spots that aired during the Super Bowl. Where McDonald's has crissed, Georgetown has crossed.

But whether you love or loathe kale, you can probably intuit this much: If McDonald's hates it, it's probably good for you.

The full McDonald's ad:

If you're considering yoga as a new fitness activity but nervous that maybe you don't have a body suited to do all that bending and stretching, take a look at Jonathan Ogden. A Pro Football Hall of Famer, Ogden is 6-9 and during his 12 seasons in the NFL, his playing weight was about 340 pounds. After a career that includes a Super Bowl championship with the Ravens and six first-team All-Pro selections, Ogden retired following the 2007 season. In his retirement from football, Odgen found yoga to be an ideal workout.

Just because you'll never be able to dunk like Michael Jordan, throw like Tom Brady or run like Usain Bolt, you still can marvel at and be moved by their abilities. That's the mindset you should take when watching Miami-based yoga instructor and author Kino MacGregor perform this handstand-to-chinstand pose. Sure, 99.9 percent of us could never do this even if we trained every day. But it should still be inspiring to push yourself to a new level of fitness as we head into the New Year.


Al Horford of the Hawks is part of an initiative called Alliance for a Healthier Generation that is focused on helping kids stay active and eat sensible foods. As part of the program, Horford made a surprise visit to Langston Hughes High School outside of Atlanta where he also spent some time on the court with the basketball team. Here's a peek at his pop-in visit with the students:

Melissa Bilecky was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis on Oct. 8 -- one month and one day after the first time she began to experience symptoms. Bilecky recalls the moment, which took place just five days after she turned 22.

"I was sitting outside on my back deck," Bilecky says. "I tried to move my right arm and it wouldn't move like it should've. I got up and had difficulty walking and then I noticed I couldn't feel anything on my right side. From my head to my toes. My neck, ear, face, torso."

They were all numb and tingly. Bilecky ended up going to the ER and was told to see a neurologist, who sent her for an MRI.

"He told me there are two lesions on the left side of my brain and that I should go to the hospital to start steroids while they do another MRI, a spinal tap and some blood work," she says. "The only way to diagnose MS is to rule out everything else. The blood work for similar diseases like Lyme disease and lupus were negative. My spinal tap was all clear."

She also began developing what she thought was a sore throat. Bilecky, who lives in New Jersey, was discharged from the hospital unable to speak or swallow, and went to her primary care physician, who said it was strep.

"She gave me a shot of antibiotic and she told me to come back the next day for another shot and a prescription and it should clear it right up," Bliecky says. "'Great,' I thought. This started on a Thursday and by Saturday night, I collapsed. My legs gave out on me. I couldn't move my arms. It felt like my head was moving inside my skull. I couldn't feel the bottom half of my body. I was taken back to the ER."

Doctors soon realized Bilecky did not have strep, but they didn't know what was wrong. It took a third MRI to lead them to an MS diagnosis. At this point, even though Bilecky had what she called a love-hate relationship with running, she was determined to keep moving.

"I remember the first time I ran a mile without stopping -- I felt like the world was mine," she says. "I did get pretty good at running and I actually liked it at one point. I would sometimes go for a few months without running but I would always put my shoes back on and try again. Some days were harder than others, but I never gave up. I think this new part of my life is going to be the same way. Running was training for MS."

Bilecky wants to have her diagnosis be a positive thing.

"Ever since I was little I've wanted to change the world, and I believe this is the way I will do it," she says. "MS is extremely under-studied, under-researched and under-funded. Many people don't know what the disease even is. All people know is that people can live with it. Yes, but how well can they live? The National Multiple Sclerosis Society Twitter page only has 35K followers. Most celebrities have more followers than that. And compared to the American Cancer Society that has 511K, and American Heart Association with 135K. So much of this disease just seems unacceptable to me and I want to change that."

Bilecky has her family's support along with friends. She says Twitter has also contributed to outpouring love and support.

"If I were to give advice to anyone out there, it would be to live each day as if it were your last because you think you have time, but you don't," she says. "Life and your health are the two most precious things. It's the most unpredictable thing-- it can change in an instant.

"The way I've been functioning for 22 years is no more. I was a normal 22-year-old reporter one day, and the next day my life completely changed. When a life-changing event like this happens, it opens your eyes to just how precious life is ... and our bodies. They're incredible things: walking, talking, eating, thinking all seem so simple until they're impaired."

Caroline Craven was traveling in Guatemala for a month with some friends in 2001. She says she had a backpack and no agenda. But during the trip she started losing her vision and balance.

"By the time I came home on the plane, I looked like I had a three-martini breakfast," Craven says. "I went to a neurologist and was confirmed Multiple Sclerosis in three tests. I was forced into an early retirement, moved back in with my parents, and my life changed forever."

Now Craven, 47, is trying to help improve the lives of others battling MS.

In addition to working as a marketing and operations consultant for local businesses in the Los Angeles area, Craven is a wellness coach through her website Girl with MS. She can connect with others because she understands what it takes to live with MS.

"I could barely think straight," Craven says. "My short-term memory was gone. One night I fed my dog five times in five minutes while my family was amused. My memory has returned as well as my ability to walk and see. But all of these can disappear in a day if the MS deems it so."

But family and friends have kept Craven motivated to fight this disease.

"When I was diagnosed there was one question only that I cared about since I knew nothing about MS: 'Will it take my life?'" she says. "When the doctor said no, a wave of relief and comfort came over me. Bring it on. I can do this."

Among the items on her bucket list is kayaking in Iceland. She recently checked off fly fishing and horseback riding.

"I've fished pretty much my whole life," Craven says. "But fly fishing is newer to me. After taking about 15 years off from fishing, I recently started up again. I am a member of the Pasadena casting club and often fish the Los Angeles river."

Craven says she follows her own protocol for nutrition as a certified nutrition educator and wellness coach. She has come to understand what works for her and what doesn't.

"I've used essential oils with great success for helping with pain and living a more holistic life, she says. "I use dōTERRA oils and either diffuse, apply or ingest as needed. ... I've recently added Kangan purified water to my routine. I'm looking for a better bounce-back rate after activities.

"Activity for folks with MS can be quite random," she explains. "Each morning I wake up, I scan my body. How does it feel? What's working what's not? Then I look at my options of activities and choose what I can do that day.

"In a former life I was quite active: Horse trainer, river guide, white water kayaker, mountain biker, back country skier, rock climber, overall adventurer. Today I have limits and boundaries. I can't risk putting other peoples lives, let alone my own, in danger."

Syndicate content