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MMA fighter who died in hit-and-run had CTE

Jordan Parsons, the MMA fighter killed in a hit-and-run accident in Delray Beach in a hit-and-run accident last May in South Florida, has been posthumously diagnosed with CTE, according to the Boston Globe.

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It is the first time the disease, which has been found in late former NFL players, has been diagnosed in a mixed martial artist, the Globe reported.

The Globe learned of the diagnosis from Dr. Bennet Omalu, who first discovered the disease in a former football player in 2002 and was the subject of the 2015 film “Concussion.”

Parsons, 25, died May 4 after he was struck by an SUV as he was crossing a major highway in Delray Beach during the early hours of May 1. Omalu said it was “impossible” for Parsons’ CTE to have been caused by the accident.

CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in athletes with a history of repetitive brain trauma, including concussions.

A Boca Raton man was arrested on May 7 and charged over the hit-and-run crash, in which he was alleged to have been driving his mother’s Range Rover Sport on a suspended license at speeds of 116 mph.

Police said friends of Dennis Michael Wright, 28, urged him not to drive that night after he had spent the day at Sunfest and then visited bars in Delray.

Parsons’ family has filed a wrongful death suit against Wright, who was denied reduced bond in August and is on home confinement.

Dayton Flyers: Best Darrell Davis photos

Pitt Recruiting: Donovan Jeter de-commits from Notre Dame

A local standout reopens his recruitment

After praying and thinking about it I've decided to decommit from Norte dame but they are still my top school. I am opening my recruitment — Donovan Jeter (@__5god__) October 18, 2016

Earlier today, four-star Donovan Jeter announced he is no longer committed to Notre Dame. This is a pretty notable action for Pitt’s recruiting efforts. Donovan Jeter is a 6’5” 255 Defensive End/Tackle. He is rated as a four-star by all four major recruiting, and was considered to be one of Pitt’s highest priority recruits until he committed Notre Dame last month.

His commitment to Notre Dame was a bit shocking, truth be told. He was widely considered a Pitt lean by many for a variety of reasons. His brother is Sheldon Jeter, a senior on the basketball team. He is from nearby Beaver Falls High School in Beaver County, an area that has been considered a pipeline. Perhaps most importantly, he generally spoke highly of Pitt and Pat Narduzzi, especially in the months leading up to his Notre Dame decision.

Obviously Jeter reopening his recruitment should get Pitt fans on notice. I’m not sure it is a slam dunk to Pitt, though. His offer sheet is as impressive as it gets. He holds offers from schools like Alabama, Michigan, and Ohio State. In fact, he announced via Twitter today that Oklahoma had offered him. So obviously, the competition for Jeter will be pretty fierce. He also said on Twitter that Notre Dame is still in the mix as well.

It’s hard to say what will happen in the recruitment of Donovan Jeter from here on out, but it’s one worth monitoring. Jeter is one of the best players in the state and country for that matter, and Pitt had prioritized before, and knowing he’s back on the market he will be highly prioritized once again.

Cardiac Hill welcomes a new contributor in photographer Matt Hawley

Hi everyone, my name is Matt Hawley. I am a senior at the University of Pittsburgh and I hope to be attending Katz Graduate School of Business here in the spring. Recently for Cardiac Hill, I covered the Georgia Tech/Homecoming game with this photo gallery. I'll be shooting other events for the site on occasion as opportunities present themselves.

I currently work as a staff photographer with The Pitt News and I have also freelanced with Panther Lair recently. I am a student manager with the women’s basketball team and I am also one of the current leaders of the Panther Pitt, so I am very actively involved with sports on campus.

I grew up in a small city outside of York, PA. I wasn’t really a fan of any specific collegiate team growing up, but I still enjoyed watching college basketball and football. Pitt was the only school I applied to in 2013, and from that point on I became a huge Pitt fan. Through my few years here I have come to love this University and city. While there have been some heartbreaking losses in basketball and football recently, I have gotten to enjoy some incredible experiences.

In my junior year I started working with The Pitt News as a staff photographer and my love of photography grew. Sports are one of my main passions in life and I chose to combine that with my love of photography. I began shooting Pitt sports such as baseball and soccer. Once I started making more connections, I have now shot some high profile events such as Pitt basketball/football, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, two Pirates games, Steelers training camp, and two Steelers games so far.

I’m not really sure if I want to try and do sports photography full time, but I definitely want to be involved in a collegiate or professional sports team in some fashion. In the meantime, I’ll occasionally be contributing photo galleries to this site while hopefully obtaining my MBA here at Pitt. Please feel free to check out my Twitter and Instagram, both @MattHawleyPhoto.

Jordan Whitehead, Quadree Henderson win weekly ACC awards

Following Pitt's win against Virginia on Saturday, two players won weekly awards from the ACC - Jordan Whitehead and Quadree Henderson.

Whitehead secured the Defensive Player of the Week award and Henderson was the Specialist of the Week.

Whitehead no doubt won the award after his big play that changed the complexion of the game. With things tied just before halftime, the Pitt safety grabbed an interception and returned it back for a touchdown to give the Panthers the lead. He also had four tackles on the day and even made some plays on offense, running for 28 yards.

Henderson had a huge kickoff return for a touchdown as well as a key punt return. That, of course, was in addition to his regular work on the offense as a wide receiver. For the first time this year, he didn't record a catch. He did have a run that went for six yards, but most of his damage was done on special teams.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

King of the Hill: ACC Football Power Rankings (Week 7)

Here are the most recent rankings after this week's ACC action. We're starting to settle in a little here. There's movement, but the top half of the conference is mostly separated out from the second half at this point. There's a chance for the Wolfpack to move up and maybe a team like Pitt or Virginia Tech moves down.

The big move up this week comes from North Carolina after they beat Miami. They climbed three spots after Virginia Tech threw everything out of whack with an upset loss to Syracuse. They own a head-to-head win over the Tar Heels but North Carolina had to be ranked higher since they beat Florida State, just had the big Miami win, and the Hokies suffered an ugly loss. And as a result, Syracuse climbed several spots and out of the basement with the Virginia Tech win.

Locally, Pitt moves up a spot with their win over Virginia. Hard to put them any higher than No. 6 right now and, obviously, teams like Virginia Tech and North Carolina State could prove to be better teams.

The previous week’s rankings are in parentheses and as always, let me know what I got right/wrong in the comments.

  1. Clemson (1) / 7-0: Wasn't easy, but Clemson pulled out a 24-17 win over North Carolina State
  2. Louisville (2) / 5-1: Also not easy, but Louisville beat Duke, 24-14
  3. North Carolina (6) 5-2: Beat Miami on road in big 20-13 win
  4. Florida State (3) / 5-2: Sensing a theme here? Not easy, but beat Wake Forest, 17-6
  5. Miami (4) / 4-2: Down a spot after loss to North Carolina
  6. Pitt (7) / 5-2: Up a spot after 45-31 win over Virginia
  7. Virginia Tech (5) / 4-2: Upset by Syracuse, 31-17
  8. North Carolina State (8) / 4-2: Played well in relatively close loss to Clemson
  9. Wake Forest (9) / 5-2: Hold steady at No. 9 after decent showing against Seminoles
  10. Georgia Tech (10) / 4-3: 35-24 win over Georgia Southern
  11. Syracuse (14) / 3-4: Out of basement with win over Hokies
  12. Virginia (11) / 2-4: Down a spot with Pitt loss
  13. Duke (12) / 3-4: Down a spot with loss to Cardinals and Syracuse win
  14. Boston College (13) / 3-3: We have a new basement team after the Eagles' idle week
Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

Former Pitt quarterback Chad Voytik struggling to make impact with Arkansas State

After losing his starting job at Pitt, quarterback Chad Voytik decided to transfer with the hopes of more playing time. So far, that hasn't exactly worked out.

Voytik opted to stay in Division I, but dropped to a non-P5 program in joining Arkansas State in the Sun Belt. He initially was reportedly headed to Eastern Kentucky, but then settled on Arkansas State. As I wrote at the time, it looked as if getting playing time at Eastern Kentucky might be difficult. Arkansas State's situation looked a little better and that's where he headed.

Early on, it appeared as if he made a good choice. He was the team's starter for the first three games and was given the opportunity he wanted. He talked openly about being glad to play in what he felt was more of a college town and the pieces were in place for him to play this year.

Unfortunately for him, things have sort of gone downhill. Under his command, Arkansas State got off to an 0-2 start. Now, to be fair, the competition wasn't bad as they faced 5-1 Toledo and then traveled on the road to face Auburn. And while Voytik didn't play particularly well against Toledo, he was solid against the Tigers (15-21 passing for 215 yards). But after going 2-6 against Utah State and throwing a pick, Voytik was sent to the bench in the middle of his third game.

That's where he's stayed for the most part in the team's last three games. He's only been used in some running situations and has given way to a former four-star recruit and Oklahoma transfer, Justice Hansen. Hansen came in during the Utah State game and threw for 277 yards, pretty much sealing Voytik's fate. Considering Hansen is a redshirt sophomore and the future of the program, it will be difficult for Voytik to reclaim his starting job without an injury.

It's sort of a shame that his career could seemingly end with him being benched for most of his final two seasons. He had a decent year for Pitt in 2014 and his future looked somewhat bright. But with the emergence of Pitt quarterback Nathan Peterman and now Hansen at Arkansas State, he's now facing another season when he lost his starting job and may not get much of an opportunity to play.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

Olympian's daughter shot to death in Kentucky

Trinity Gay, the 15-year old daughter of U.S. Olympic sprinter Tyson Gay, was fatally shot early Sunday in Lexington, Kentucky.

WLEX was the first to report the news.

"Tyson told sports director Alan Cutler he was very close with his daughter. "Of the shooting, Gay said, 'She didn’t make it. I’m so confused. She was just here last week for fall break. It’s so crazy. I have no idea what happened.'"

The incident happened around 4 a.m. Sunday near a local Cook Out restaurant, where shots were reportedly exchanged between two vehicles. Gay was struck in the shooting and later pronounced dead at the the University of Kentucky hospital.

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Police have charged Dvonta Middlebrooks, 21; Chazerae M. Taylor, 38; and D'markeo C. Taylor, 19, with wanton endangerment in connection with the incident, WLEX reported. Middlebrooks also was charged with possession of a firearm by a felon.

Tyson Gay has twice competed in the Olympics and is a multiple-time world sprinting champion. Trinity was following in her father’s footsteps as a member of her high school track-and-field team.

[H/T NBC News]

– The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

During Colin Kaepernick's national anthem protest, a police officer made a statement of his own

During Sunday’s matchup against the Buffalo Bills, San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick continued his silent protest against racial inequality by kneeling for the national anthem along with outside linebacker Eli Harold and free safety Eric Reid.

>> See the photo here

While Kaepernick and his teammates kneeled, a police officer stood behind the group, saluting the flag as the anthem played.

While the officer’s action served as a subtle response to Kaepernick’s protest, the reactions of other Bills fans toward Kaepernick was not-so-subtle.

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Others, however, showed their support for the 49ers quarterback.

SEE IT: Patriots fans turn Gillette Stadium pink for breast cancer awareness

Gillette Stadium was a sea of pink at the Patriots-Bengals game Sunday. 

At the end of the first quarter, fans held up pink pieces of paper. One section's papers made the pink breast cancer awareness ribbon.

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

>> Watch the moment here

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