Rahm one back at Irish Open; McIlroy shoots 72

first_imgPORTSTEWART, Northern Ireland – Rising Spanish star Jon Rahm upstaged tournament host Rory McIlroy at the Irish Open by shooting a 7-under 65 to move one stroke off the first-round lead on Thursday. Rahm, ranked No. 11, showed impressive form on the links two weeks out from the British Open, rolling in six birdies and an eagle on a low-scoring day at Portstewart. He was tied for third place with Englishmen Matthew Southgate and Oliver Fisher. Daniel Im of the United States, ranked No. 542, and Benjamin Hebert of France, ranked No. 254, held the lead after shooting bogey-free 64s. McIlroy, the defending champion and part of a heavyweight group containing Rahm and Hideki Matsuyama, parred his last 11 holes and was even par at a tournament which benefits his own foundation. The No. 2-ranked Matsuyama shot 67. Dubai Duty Free Irish Open: Articles, photos and videos Rahm has taken a break from the PGA Tour, where he is enjoying a breakthrough season, to play in Europe ahead of the British Open at Royal Birkdale from July 20-23. He tied for 10th at the French Open last week and is now in contention in Ireland, another event in the European Tour’s Rolex Series with a prize fund of $7 million. He holed a long birdie putt on No. 1 and followed up a bogey and two birdies by rolling in a 20-foot eagle putt on the 7th. He birdied both par fives on the back nine before a final birdie on the 15th. ”My attitude was probably the best it’s been all year,” said Rahm, who is known for his fiery temperament. ”I was positive all day. Kept my routine going. Stayed calm and the result showed how good it was.” Im, who made six birdies in his opening eight holes, is leading a European Tour event for only the second time in his career. His best finish this year is 14th. Hebert was the best of the afternoon starters, picking up four straight birdies from No. 13 to join Im atop the leaderboard.last_img read more

EMS Provider Returns to East Hampton Six Months After Surgery Left Him Paralyzed

first_img Former Amagansett Fire Chief Mark Bennett drove a fire truck in the parade. East Hampton Village police in the parade. Randy Hoffman waved to the procession of fire truck and ambulance as it went by his house in East Hampton on June 19. An Amagansett ambulance Rand Hoffman was all smiles. Randy Hoffman waited for a parade of friends in the EMS fire service on the evening of June 19 with, from left, his best friend, Jim Jowers, and his sons Nick Hoffman, 22, and Ozzy Hoffman, 19. Share Randy Hoffman holds up a gag gift a friend gave him. Jim Jowers, Randy Hoffman’s best friend, gives the thumbs up as Hoffman waves. Randy Hoffman waited for the parade to roll by. Amagansett’s Second Assistant Chief Michael Steele A Sag Harbor first responder and ambulance drove by. East Hampton Village Ambulance Association Chief Lisa Charde organized the parade. Randy Hoffman waited for a parade of friends in the EMS fire service on the evening of June 19 with, from left, his best friend, Jim Jowers, and sons Nick Hoffman, 22, and Ozzy Hoffman, 19.Last week, six months after a surgery that left him paralyzed from the neck down, Randy Hoffman walked out of a rehabilitation center and returned to East Hampton.With his hands on a walker and masked nurses surrounding him, one of them told him he could not walk over the threshold because it was metal. “I said, ‘We’ll see.’ ” Sure enough, he crossed that threshold himself, the hard-fought victory seen in his smile like the sunlight on his face.Back on December 5, 2019, Hoffman, well-known throughout the emergency medical service system on the East End, underwent what is considered at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City to be a routine spinal procedure, an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion to correct nerve damage in his arm.“It was supposed to be a two-hour surgery—out the next day. They do hundreds of them a week,” Hoffman explained. His mother and his sister flew in from Colorado to be with him, but he felt it was “no big deal.”A 12-year advanced life-support provider, Hoffman knew something was wrong when he woke up from the procedure and he was still intubated. He recalled how his hands were crossed on his chest and he was told to move them. All he could wiggle was one finger.MRIs showed there was bleeding around his spinal cord. Hoffman ended up undergoing more surgeries—in all, four surgeries in 30 hours.When he fully came to, the doctor told him he was in spinal shock and essentially paralyzed from the neck down, but he was told, “ ‘I expect you’ll fully recover, but it’s going to take a lot of time because the compression has to go down.’ ”By the way, Hoffman noted, the pinched nerve never got fixed.To be expected, his memory of those first few days is hazy, but he remembers vividly his dreams, right out of “Alice in Wonderland,” he said. “Machinery, like metalworking machinery, were developing faces and talking to me.” It was from the Dilaudid, a morphine-derivative that produces a high similar to heroin distorting the very machines he works with in his East Hampton shop. “It was so realistic and so deep and so real.”In the coming weeks, Hoffman was transferred to Mount Sinai, acute rehab facility. He regained the use of his hands. As the nerve endings returned in his hands, it was so painful he had to ice them. There was progress, albeit he felt it was slow. Then he read something that referred to him as a quadriplegic. “That’s when I really got very upset, because then I was like, shit.”There was a program on his floor at Mount Sinai where patients would get together, and transitioning into society in a wheelchair was discussed. He attended once and quickly left. When he was asked to come back, he said, “I’m not going to be in a wheelchair.”Hoffman, 59, had been in great shape. He cycled 20 to 30 miles every day before the surgery. A self-employed custom cabinetmaker, he also built, restored and raced classic motorcycles, all while running ambulance calls. He lost 38 pounds while his muscles atrophied.While he regained feeling and later mobility in all four of his limbs, the East End community sprang into action, raising more than $100,000 for him between online fundraisers and spaghetti dinners at local firehouses. He has ridden on every ambulance, at one time or another, between Montauk and Southampton, and his friends in EMS, as well as people he has cared for, rallied to ensure his regular bills and whatever medical costs not paid for by insurance would be covered.Randy Hoffman waved to the procession of fire truck and ambulance as it went by his house in East Hampton on June 19.Over the winter he was transferred to San Simeon on the Sound in Greenport, a sub-acute facility, which while mainly known as a nursing home has the kind of physical therapy he required. Plus, he longed to be closer to home, even though he had a steady stream of visitors in the city.About a month after he arrived back on the East End, the novel coronavirus would hit New York. San Simeon very quickly closed its doors to visitors, successfully keeping COVID-19 out of the facility. For nearly three months, Hoffman had to go without visitors, and his focus was solely on rehabilitation.He surprised even his caregivers with his progress. Three months ago, his primary physical therapist asked him what his goals were. “I said I wanted to walk out the front doors with a walker, and she didn’t say anything. And then two months ago, she said, ‘We really need to sit down and talk about realistic goals.’ And I said, ‘I told you what my goals were,’ and she said, ‘No, no.’“That’s when I got really depressed, because she said, ‘You’re not going to walk out of here with a walker, or there’s a good chance you won’t,’ he said. It was a brutal blow, but the reality was, he said, it did not look like it was going to happen.Hoffman considers himself a generally positive person—sarcastic, he admits, but someone who looked at the bright side of things. The experience brought him to depths he had never known before. Yes, even suicidal thoughts, he freely admitted.There were times he lashed out, where he recalled yelling  out loud, “It can’t end this way.” Other days he just cried. “I mean just days, especially weekends were just difficult, I didn’t have physical therapy on Sundays. I would just cry and cry and cry,” he said. Finally, he agreed to go on Paxil, an antidepressant.How did he pull himself out of it?“I took a step between the parallel bars,” he said with a smile. “That did it.”During a P.T. session, he managed that first step while standing between parallel bars. A few days later, he took a couple more steps. Soon he was able to walk across the room with the walker, turn around, sit down and stand up again.“Now that’s functional walking,” his primary physical therapist told him.He hopes to be walking more in the next few months, and his new goal is to go back to racing in February.On Friday evening, just days after returning to East Hampton, his friends in the EMS and fire service paid him a visit—but not because he was in need of assistance. The East Hampton Village Ambulance Association, of which he is a member, organized a drive-by homecoming parade. Ambulances, fire trucks, first responder vehicles and EMTs waving signs passed by one by one to welcome him home. There was that smile once again, as he waved and blew kisses.Now just one question remains: When will he back on the ambulance, helping others?Soon, he [email protected] Randy Hoffman had a big group of family and friends at the end of his driveway. An Amagansett fire truck was also in the parade. An East Hampton truck passed by. Randy Hoffman takes a look at a sticker given to him in jest. Many EMTs in their personal vehicle also joined the parade.last_img read more

Counting the burials: African nations scramble to track COVID-19

first_imgMore African countries confirm Covid-19 cases AFRICAN NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIP Long after the funding for his project was frozen, Bilal Endris has kept a lonely watch over cemeteries in Ethiopia’s capital by slipping cash to gravediggers to alert his team to any sudden spikes in burials.In a nation where fewer than 2% of deaths are registered, an increase in burials may be one of the first signs that a killer disease is on the loose.The program was set up to monitor deaths related to HIV/AIDS a decade ago. Now doctor Bilal monitors for a spike in fatalities linked to COVID-19.He has yet to see one, but projects like his are being set up in other African countries where many deaths go unrecorded, making it hard to assess the scale of a disease. In some cases, nations are dusting off programs set up during Ebola outbreaks.Bilal himself has secured additional funding to restore the program to all 73 of Addis Ababa’s cemeteries from just 10 now.Only eight countries in Africa – Algeria, Cape Verde, Djibouti, Egypt, Mauritius, Namibia, Seychelles, and South Africa – record more than 75% of deaths, according to the United Nations.In other regions, where official data is readily available, researchers have used the number of deaths from all causes that exceed the average for the time of year to help gauge the number linked to the coronavirus pandemic.“In Ethiopia and everywhere across Africa … we go blind.” Bilal told Reuters. “I wanted to turn the health care system into one based on evidence.”In the capital Addis Ababa, less than 20% of deaths occur in hospitals, Bilal said, so monitoring deaths requires talking to community leaders and burial grounds.In Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, media reports citing gravediggers alerted authorities to an undetected COVID-19 outbreak in the northern city of Kano in April, when deaths surged from a daily average of 11 to 43.Bilal’s project began tracking burials at all graveyards in Addis Ababa a decade ago.But in 2018, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) froze its funding, as the country had started using other methods to track HIV mortality, according to a CDC spokeswoman.Bilal scaled back his surveillance to 10 cemeteries and began working for free, paying sources with a tiny grant from Addis Ababa University – until May.City officials called him for a meeting, desperate to know whether COVID-19 was cutting swathes through their city, he said. The Ministry of Health did not respond to requests for comment.Although official figures are still low – 6,973 confirmed cases and 120 deaths as of Thursday night – Ethiopia’s outbreak is accelerating. The university has now given Bilal enough support to restart the program in all 73 graveyards.“It used to be funded by the CDC but now it is funded by Addis Ababa University as everyone, including the government, thinks the program is very important,” said Dr Wondwossen Amogne, an associate professor in infectious diseases at Addis Ababa University and director of research at the university’s Black Lion Hospital.Health minister Lia Tadesse confirmed the study was being used by the government to monitor any spikes in death.As a separate initiative, New York-based public health initiative Resolve to Save Lives is working with five other African nations to set up similar programs, including Rwanda and Senegal. The other three don’t want to be named.They will establish the usual death rate by interviewing community leaders, then watch for spikes.Deciding whether any excess deaths are due to COVID-19 could be tricky, however. People with other diseases are avoiding hospitals for fear of catching the virus, health officials say.Bilal’s team has begun asking families at burials whether the dead had any possible COVID-19 symptoms, such as a cough or a fever.Relatedcenter_img COVID-19 may impact African economies for three yearslast_img read more