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By ANTONYA ENGLISH, PETE YOUNG, Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 6, 2001


Rugby player dies after making tackle

UCLA rugby player Kimberley Wilson died from a head injury sustained during a weekend U.S. national club championship playoff match, USA Rugby said Tuesday.

Wilson, a 39-year-old fullback, died Monday, a day after collapsing during the match between UCLA and Wisconsin. She was taken to a hospital in Rockford, Ill., and had surgery but did not recover, USA Rugby said.

The games were part of the annual senior women's club championship. The UCLA team is not an intercollegiate side but is associated with the school and comprised of graduates, graduate and undergraduate students, faculty and staff, said Tam Breckenridge, the team's coach and the school's assistant director of athletic compliance.

Breckenridge said Wilson, an alumna of the Graduate School of Management, left the game complaining of a concussion after making a routine tackle. She got up immediately from the tackle, walked to the sideline, spoke to Breckenridge and was being attended to by the team's trainer when she collapsed.

"The doctors told us it was a one-in-a-million thing," Breckenridge said, "like a child riding a tricycle, falling off, hitting their head on the sidewalk and dying."

AUTOS: Chevrolet will replace the Oldsmobile nameplate on the General Motor engines used in the Indy Racing League beginning with the 2002 season.

BOXING: Lightweight Verquan Kimbrough, light middleweight Sechew Powell and super-heavyweight Jason Estrada won at the World Amateur Championships, leaving the 12-member U.S. team a chance at winning six medals in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Billy Henderson, a Pinellas Park running back rated the No. 23 local prospect by the Times, received a qualifying test score and will play at South Florida this fall, his father and high school coach said. Henderson, 18, committed to USF during the February signing period but didn't have a qualifying test score. "Billy called and let coach (Jim) Leavitt know everything was okay with his test result and he's got his scholarship," Edward Henderson, Billy's father, said. Henderson's high school coach, James Adams, said Henderson will attend USF. NCAA rules prohibit Leavitt from commenting because the signing period is over. ... Pittsburgh starting offensive lineman Khiawatha Downey has been suspended for next season for violating team policies, coach Walt Harris said. ... Duke asked the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., to reduce a $2-million award given to former placekicker Heather Sue Mercer. Mercer claimed that former coach Fred Goldsmith let her join the team in 1995, then treated her differently from the male players before informing her she would not be allowed to remain on the team.

COLLEGES: Former U.S. national team defender Paul Caligiuri will retire from the Los Angeles Galaxy after the MLS season and coach the soccer teams at Cal Poly-Pomona starting in 2002. ... Bill Hempen, women's soccer coach at Duke for 13 seasons, was hired for the same position at Colorado. Hempen started the Duke program in 1988 and led the Blue Devils to a 162-100-16 record and nine NCAA Tournament appearances, including the 1992 championship game. ... One month after winning a second NCAA title, BYU men's volleyball coach Carl McGown was named coach of the year by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. ... USF soccer player Jan-Erik Salo and softball player Courtney Lewellen were among 16 named Conference USA Scholar Athletes of the Year.

CYCLING: Surprise urine tests were administered to the top seven contenders in the Giro d'Italia. The tests for banned substances were administered on the three-week event's only rest day.

RATINGS: National ratings for Sunday's Game 7 of the NBA Eastern Conference final were down 30 percent from the corresponding conference title game a year ago. Philadelphia's 108-91 win over Milwaukee drew an 8.7 rating, compared with 12.4 for last year's deciding game of the Portland-Los Angeles series. The Lakers won and advanced to the NBA Finals. Each ratings point represents 102.2-million households. Through 30 playoff games, NBC's rating is 4.9, down from the 5.7 the network averaged for 31 games last year. ... ABC's national rating for Saturday night's Game 4 of the Stanley Cup final between New Jersey and Colorado was 2.3, down from 3.3 a year ago when New Jersey played Dallas in Game 4 on a Monday night. This year's Game 5, on Monday night, got a 4.0 overnight rating, down from 5.3 a year ago for a triple-overtime Game 5 between Dallas and New Jersey. Overnight ratings are based on the 49 largest TV markets, covering about 65 percent of the country. For Games 3 and 4 of the final, ABC's national average rating was 2.8, the same as last year.

SOCCER: Midfielder Clint Mathis injured a knee while practicing with the U.S. national team for Thursday's exhibition game against Ecuador. Mathis, of MLS' New York/New Jersey, went down and screamed, "My God, I've torn my ACL." He was expected to see a doctor Tuesday night and have an MRI exam today. ... Four MLS players -- Landon Donovan, Bobby Convey, DaMarcus Beasley and Edson Buddle -- and European pro Conor Casey were picked for the U.S. under-20 men's team for the World Youth Championships in Argentina beginning June 17. ... Colombia will remain host of Latin America's premier international competition next month after the South American Soccer Federation rejected claims that the country is a security risk. ... Piacenza was fined $20,000 and will play the final game of its Italian second-division season on a neutral field as punishment for fans booing black Pistoia players last week.

STRIP CLUB TRIAL: A former manager of Atlanta's hottest strip club dropped more names of famous athletes, testifying that his boss arranged for dancers to have sex with former NBA player Dennis Rodman and 1998 NFL MVP Terrell Davis. Thomas "Ziggy" Sicignano is a key witness in the government's racketeering case against Gold Club owner Steve Kaplan and six associates. Kaplan also arranged a sex show for Knicks rookies John Wallace, Walter McCarty and Dontae' Jones in 1997 in Charleston, S.C., where the team was training, Sicignano testified in Atlanta. Prosecutors charge that Kaplan used sex to attract celebrities and build the club into the nation's most profitable.

TENNIS: Xavier Luscan of Florida State lost 6-4, 6-4 to seventh-seeded Robert Kendrick in the first round of the USTA Tallahassee Challenger.

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