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Serena Williams makes successful return, wins first match since giving birth

She said she was a little rusty, but Serena Williams had few problems as she won her first match in 14 months.

>> Read more trending news

Williams, who took a break after the birth of her first child, defeated Zarina Divas of Kazakhstan 7-5, 6-3 in the first round of the BNP Paribas Open on Thursday night, ESPN reported.

"It was incredible,'' Williams said after the 90-minute match. “It's been over a year and a kid later and I get to go home to her now, and I'm excited about that.''

Williams last competed in January 2017, when she won the Australian Open. She gave birth to daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. six months ago.

Her husband, Redditt co-founder Alexis Ohanian, was in Williams’ box to watch, along with her mother Oracene, and sisters Lyndrea and Isha, ESPN reported. Older sister Venus Williams watched from a balcony seat in an upper-level box.

"It definitely wasn't easy,'' Serena Williams said. "We always have a couple tight sets. It was good. I'm a little rusty, but it doesn't matter. I'm just out here on this journey and doing the best I can.''

Celtics’ Jaylen Brown takes scary fall 

Boston Celtics forward Jaylen Brown took a scary fall during Thursday night’s NBA game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center.

>> Read more trending news

Brown, finishing a dunk, fell awkwardly as he lost his grip on the rim after being fouled, the Star Tribune reported. Brown fell head over heels onto his back and remained down for a few minutes.

Players from both teams gathered nearby while Brown was being tended. He was taken to Boston’s locker room for a CT scan, Celtics coach Brad Stevens said.

“He felt pretty good leaving the arena,” Stevens told the Star Tribune. “He is in good hands.”

Brown scored 14 points and added five rebounds for the Celtics. 

“You never want to see a player go down like that,” Wolves center Karl-Anthony Towns told the Star Tribune. “It’s a brotherhood. We look out for each other regardless what team affiliation you are.

“You feel for him. Prayers go out to him. You don’t know the extent, but you want to wish him a speedy recovery. Us playing is just a little part of us. We’re still humans, still brothers.”

Brown later tweeted that he was OK, although he confessed he had a headache.

Alabama QB Jalen Hurts pays off bet, wears Auburn jersey

It’s easier to pay off a bet when you have a national championship in your pocket.

>> Read more trending news

On Thursday, Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts wore the jersey of the Crimson Tide’s bitter rival, Auburn, on campus, ESPN reported.

Hurts had made a bet on Nov. 14 with Auburn alumnus Charles Barkley before the Iron Bowl game between the two Alabama universities. 

"Jalen Hurts challenged me to a bet, and I ain't forgot it, Jalen," Barkley said that day. "I'm either going to wear an Alabama jersey on TV, or he's going to have to wear (an Auburn jersey) on campus. ... I've got the jersey coming.

"My Tigers need to win because I don't want to wear that crap on TNT."

Auburn stunned No. 1 Alabama 26-14, handing the Crimson Tide its only loss of the season.

Hurts paid off the bet Thursday, as the school posted a video on its Twitter feed.

"What's up, Charles," Hurts said. "Obviously, I'm a man of my word. And first off, I'd just like to congratulate Auburn and the Auburn family on their successful season this year. But I think it's time I get to class. I'm running kind of late for English."

Hurts added a “Roll Tide” before walking away.

While Alabama lost to Auburn, the Crimson Tide qualified for the College Football Playoff games and won the national title with a 26-23 overtime victory against Georgia.

Carolina Panthers' RB Christian McCaffrey helps save life of elderly hiker 

Carolina Panthers star running back Christian McCaffrey helped rescue a 72-year-old man who fell 20 feet onto a rock while hiking along a Colorado trail Saturday.

>> Read more trending news

“We were going to go to lunch,” McCaffrey said on the Panthers’ website. “And then just randomly we were like, ‘Let’s go hike the rock.’”

McCaffrey, two of his brothers and two friends were at Castle Rock hiking when they saw Dan Smoker Sr. fall. Smoker's 13-year-old grandson, Eli, also was on the hike and witnessed the ordeal.

“It felt like he was in the air for 10 seconds,” McCaffrey said. “I had never seen anything quite like that in my life as far as the trauma and the sound. We were in shock.”

They called 911 for help. Smoker was seriously injured and his breathing stopped. They started performing chest compressions on the man.

Paramedics arrived in about 11 minutes.

Smoker was taken to the hospital with a broken femur, a broken pelvis, internal bleeding, bleeding on the brain, nine fractured ribs and a broken neck.

He was in critical but stable condition Tuesday.

A day after the accident, McCaffrey, along with his brothers and mother, visited Smoker in the hospital.

“They introduced themselves and I still hadn’t pieced it together,” said Smoker's son, Dan. “I can’t say I’d recognize Christian without his football gear on. Around here, Valor Christian is a popular high school, and I knew that Ed McCaffrey had just taken over as head coach there. We were talking and they had mentioned that they went to Valor, and we were looking there because our son loves football as well."

“One of the things that amazed me the most was just the humility,” Dan Smoker said. “It was not about, ‘Look at who I am.’ They just wanted to make sure we were OK. That was it. They wanted to see how my son was doing.”

McCaffrey continues to text back and forth with Smoker’s son following the incident.

"It’s such a -- I don’t know what you’d call it. Truly a blessing that we turned the corner at that exact moment and we could be there for him. I don’t know what would have happened. We were lucky to be at the right place at the right time.”

Health officials warn about mumps exposure at national cheerleading event

Health officials in Texas sent a letter to parents warning that their children might have been exposed to mumps at a national cheerleading competition last month in Dallas, WFAA reported.

>> Read more trending news

More than 23,000 cheerleaders and 2,600 coaches from 39 states and nine countries competed at the National Cheerleaders Association All-Star National Championships held Feb. 23-25 in downtown Dallas, the Dallas Morning News reported.

Chris Van Deusen, a spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services, said a person from another state who had mumps traveled to the competition, the Morning News reported.

The department sent a letter to those who participated in the competition and their families, WFAA reported. 

Mumps is a contagious virus with symptoms that include swollen salivary glands, low-grade fever, fatigue and muscle aches, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It can be spread through saliva or from coughing and sneezing.

High school basketball coach criticized after team wins playoff game 93-7

A Massachusetts high school basketball coach is coming under fire after his basketball team beat student athletes from another school by 86 points.

>> Watch the news report here

The Division III South Sectional playoff game took place Wednesday between the East Bridgewater Lady Vikings and Madison Park Vocational High School Cardinals.

>> Read more trending news 

In the end, East Bridgewater won the game 93-7, something some parents say is an example of poor sportsmanship.

“I wouldn’t want to drive it so far into the dirt when you’re really rubbing it in their face. It’s one thing to beat a team; it’s another to really drag them through the mud. That’s just bad sportsmanship,” John Healey said.

Superintendent Liz Legault agreed and issued an apology.

"This was an unfortunate situation and shouldn’t be a reflection of our girls or the East Bridgewater Athletic Program. Both teams were excited for the first round of the playoffs and unfortunately they were not matched up well,” she said in a statement to WFXT.

But others say the criticism belongs with the superintendent – and that an apology isn’t necessary.

“The score is the score,” Joe Schwede said. “Not everyone is going to get a trophy; they’ve got to stop that. There’s going to be a winner and there’s going to be a loser.”

Parents told us there were only eight East Bridgewater girls dressed for the game, so some starters did play through the second half.

“We now have time to reflect, discuss, learn and move forward in the best interest of our girls and program,” Legault said.

The MIAA regulates high school sports in Massachusetts and told WFXT that the East Bridgewater team did not violate any rules in the victory.

Boxer has $155,000 in cash, jewelry stolen at Jay-Z’s NYC nightclub

A professional boxer lost more than $155,000 in cash and jewelry early Sunday when a bag containing the valuables was stolen during an altercation at a Manhattan nightclub owned by rapper Jay-Z, the New York Daily News reported.

>> Read more trending news

Middleweight fighter Jermall Charlo was at the 40/40 Club in Manhattan when he got involved in a fight around 3 a.m. the Daily News reported.

According to the New York Post, one of Charlo’s assistants handed one of the bag, which contained $40,000 in cash and $115,000 worth of jewelry, to one of the five women at the boxer’s table. Surveillance video from the club shows one of Charlo’s friends taking off his shirt, then handing the bag to a woman in the club, 40/40 spokesman Didier Morais told the Daily News.

When Charlo, 27, returned to his table, the money -- and the women -- were gone, the Post reported.

“We, of course, have given all footage to the NYPD and have cooperated as we always do for the last 15 years,” Morais said. “The bag in question was handed to one of the girls with the Charlo party by a friend of the party host and she walked out of the club with it.”

Surveillance cameras showed the five women leaving the club with the bag, the Daily News reported.

Charlo, who is 26-0, held the International Boxing Federation’s light middleweight title until February 2016, when he moved up to the middleweight class, the Daily News reported.

Linebacker with one hand does 20 bench press reps at NFL combine

Give Shaquem Griffin a challenge, and he meets it head-on. The former University of Central Florida linebacker has been silencing critics for years, and his effort at Saturday’s NFL combine was no exception.

>> Read more trending news

Griffin, who was born with amniotic band syndrome and had his left hand amputated when he was 4 years old, did 20 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press Saturday, ESPN reported.

According to the NFL, Griffin is trying to become the first player with one hand to be drafted during the modern era, ESPN reported.

Griffin used a black prosthetic device that was affixed to his left forearm during the event, The Tampa Bay Times reported. He said the most reps he had completed at that weight had been 11, Sports Illustrated reported. But when he heard that an NFL general manager would be content to see Griffin do just five reps, the St. Petersburg, Florida, native rose to the challenge.

"My goal was six (repetitions),” Griffin told ESPN with a smile. “I think I beat that by a lot. When I first got to training, I did like 11 reps. ... Just being able to do that, that was amazing. Hearing the crowd and having the juices flowing, I felt it ... I didn't know I had it in me, but it came out (Saturday).

“People didn't think I'd be able to do it, and him just saying five (reps), I mean, five to me is just warming up,” Griffin told the Times.

At last year’s combine, Griffin’s twin brother, Shaquill, did 17 reps in the bench press, Sports Illustrated reported. Shaquill Griffin was drafted in the third round by Seattle in 2017.

Some draft experts see Shaquem Griffin as a third-day pick in this year’s NFL draft. The 6-foot-1, 227-pounder prepared for the combine and wrote an open letter to NFL general managers so they could learn his story, the Times reported.

Griffin was a two-year starter at UCF and a first-team All-American Athletic Conference selection in both seasons, ESPN reported. In 2016 he was AAC’s defensive player of the year, collecting 92 tackles and 11.5 sacks. He also forced two fumbles and had an interception.

Family of slain Parkland student Joaquin Oliver are guests of Heat's Dwyane Wade

The day after Dwyane Wade was reacquired by the Miami Heat, the most iconic player in franchise history stepped on the court for the first time in a neon pink and electric blue Vice jersey.

>> Read more trending news

While watching the game from his home in Coral Springs, 17-year-old Joaquin Oliver, who had become emotional when he learned Wade was returning, decided he needed that jersey to add to his collection.

On Saturday, 17 days after Oliver and 16 others were killed by a gunman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, that wish was granted for Joaquin’s parents.

Wade presented Patricia Padauy and Manuel Oliver with a Vice jersey and custom-made sneakers following Miami’s 105-96 victory against the Detroit Pistons, Patricia, Manuel and their daughter, Andrea, were guests of Wade’s, who was touched when they recently revealed their son was buried wearing Wade’s Heat jersey.

>> Parkland shooting victim buried in Dwyane Wade jersey

The sneakers were in Stoneman Douglas colors and included the school’s logo. Joaquin’s name was printed on a black band at the top of the shoes.

“It’s a tough time for their family, it’s a tough time for a lot of families in Parkland,” Wade said. “I’m thankful they came to the game, thankful I got a chance just to talk to them and tell them my appreciation, to let them know we will continue to use our voice, to continue to shine the light on what they’re talking about and what they’re going through and what they’re dealing with.”

Patricia, Manuel and Andrea attended the game and sat opposite the Heat bench. Andrea stood on the court by Wade during the national anthem.

The family was invited to the game and to meet Wade last week when Wade’s mother, Jolinda, and his sister, Tragil, visited them for more than two hours at their Coral Springs home. Jolinda and Tragil learned how much Joaquin idolized Wade. They watched a video of him pretending to be Wade while playing basketball as a child and Joaquin’s parents shared how emotional Joaquin got when Wade was traded to the Heat on Feb. 8.

“Dwyane made some type of very deep impression on his life when he was here,” Jolinda said.

Wade said he hopes he was able to, at least for a moment, take them away from the heartbreak and tragedy that has entered their life.

“They’re strong,” he said. “It’s a tough time for them, definitely. Just having a quick moment with them, to see a smile on their face, to hear stories and see them light up about their son -- you just take them out of it for a minute.

“They were telling me stories about what he said when I came back. … things he said about me. Just for a moment to give them that positive memory of their son was great.”

Wade was touched by those stories about the impact he had on Joaquin’s life. And the meeting reminded Wade how his contribution to South Florida and his impact on the community is far-reaching and perhaps even more important off the court.

“It’s bigger than basketball,” he said. “Obviously, I’m back here to do a job on the court, in this locker room with this team. But the timing was perfect for me to come back here for this city and the state. It’s like we both needed each other. I’m thankful I could come back and be able to be a leader and a voice in the community more so than even coming back here and scoring any baskets. That’s more important. The timing was right.”

99-year-old swimmer breaks 2 world marks in Australia

A 99-year-old man from Australia loves to jump into the pool -- and now he has two world records to show for it.

>> Read more trending news

George Corones finished a 50-meter swim in 56.12 seconds Wednesday in Queensland, Australia, setting a world record in the 100-104 age category, the BBC reported. He broke the previous mark, which was set in 2014, by 35 seconds. 

The previous record of 1:31.19 was set by British swimmer John Harrison, Inside Edition reported.

Corones also challenged the 100-meter freestyle record Saturday and beat it by a minute, according to multiple reports.

The time will become official when it is verified by FINA, swimming’s governing body.

Corones is eligible for the record because he turns 100 in April, the BBC reported.

“It was an exemplary swim for me, well-balanced,” Corones told the BBC. “And I was ready to hit the (wall) at the end very hard with my hand.”

The Brisbane resident got back in the pool 20 years ago, the first time he had competed since 1945.

“I gave it up at the beginning of the war (World War II), and I don't think I had a swim of any description until I retired,” Corones told the BBC. “I started swimming again for exercise.”

Corones stays fit by swimming laps three times a week and also goes to the gym, the BBC reported.

"At this age it takes a while to get going ... You get exhausted much more easily, but if you do it sensibly, the rewards are astronomical,” he told the BBC.

Like setting a world record.

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