- The Washington Times - Friday, August 19, 2005

The collapse of Miami Dolphins guard Jeno James after the second of two two-hour practices July 27 and his subsequent hospitalization with a combination of a stomach virus and dehydration brought back terrible memories for Kelci Stringer.

Her husband, Minnesota offensive tackle Korey Stringer, died of complication of heatstroke in 1991.

“This is the third call I got in the last month about a player collapsing on the field,” said Kelci Stringer, whose $100 million wrongful death lawsuit against the Vikings and NFL is before Minnesota’s Supreme Court. “It’s sad that it has to keep happening. It’s not that hard to police or prevent. They usually show some sort of symptoms.

“If it’s a business, they need to protect their product,” she continued. “The NFL has networks for everything you need: real estate, doctors, domestic abuse, alcohol. They know every move the players make. Why not pay extra to hire a heat specialist?”

James, who was released after two days in the hospital, said thoughts of Korey Stringer flashed through his mind after he became light-headed and before he became unconscious.

“I’m just happy to be alive,” James said. “It’s something that I never want to go through again.”

James had been feeling sick before the evening practice and had taken “medicines” from the trainer. However, he neglected to tell the medical staff that he hadn’t been eating or drinking.

“I just thought it was a stomachache,” James said. “[I’ve been] out there plenty of times sick, hurt or whatever. To me that was just another time. It’s just the way I was raised.”

The Dolphins have installed lights for night practices to space out their two-a-days enough for the players to recover. They also have added a three-minute water break midway through their two-hour practices during which players can sit under a canopied “cooling zone” that has cold towels, drinks and fans that blow a cold mist.

Jacksonville and Philadelphia are both using a “radio pill” that contains a sensor that transmits players’ core temperature to a hand-held device trainers can monitor during practice.

“Those are all backhanded responses to Korey and disrespectful to the players,” Stringer said. “It’s like your child can’t swim and he’s in the deep end, but there are only two lifeguards to monitor 3,000 kids. Do you want your child airlifted to the hospital?”

T.O. will ‘overcome’ — With his suspension lifted, Terrell Owens remains with the Eagles and plans to be even better this season.

“For your continued support in the most difficult of times, Terrell plans to reward you with a season for the ages,” his Web site proclaimed. “Where small men succumb, great men overcome!”

Greg Lewis, Billy McMullen and rookie Reggie Brown combined for 12 catches for 139 yards in the preseason opener at Pittsburgh, but it’s hard to see the Eagles back in the Super Bowl without Owens.

Vikings fan stands in — Minnesota fan Mike Hennager hadn’t played offensive line since junior high school. That is until Tuesday. The 29-year-old Mankato, Minn., resident was wearing a No. 3 Vikings jersey while watching a walk-through when coach Mike Tice motioned to him.

“I thought he was going to tell me to move back,” the 5-foot-10, 220-pound Hennager said.

Instead, Tice said, “No. 3, get in here,” and Hennager came running. Tice had him take over at left guard. Hennager later moved to right guard during his 10 minutes in the no-contact, helmet-less drill that gave him a thrill he will never forget.

Happy to be home — After nine summers at Western Illinois University in little Macomb, the Rams held training camp back in St. Louis this month, and the players were thrilled with the change.

“There’s nothing I like about Macomb,” safety Adam Archuleta said. “You have to travel three hours [to get there] and then travel to wherever you’ve got to go. The fields are in bad shape. Sleeping in a dorm. The stress of being in a different environment. This is just so much better. This might add a few years to my career, actually.”

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