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Sports Log

Ex-Sporting KC player Scott Vermillion had CTE, a first in MLS

David Vermillion, father of Scott Vermillion, hopes his son's case "will be a wake-up call to the soccer community."DAVID LAWRENCE/NYT

Researchers have diagnosed chronic traumatic encephalopathy in a Major League Soccer player for the first time, saying Tuesday that former Sporting Kansas City defender Scott Vermillion suffered from the degenerative brain disease. The Boston University CTE Center said Vermillion, who died of an accidental drug overdose in December 2020 at the age of 44, had CTE. “Mr. Vermillion has shown us that soccer players are at risk for CTE,” said Dr. Ann McKee, director of the BU CTE Center. “We need to make every effort to identify players who are suffering and provide them compassionate care and appropriate medical support.” Vermillion began playing soccer at the age of 5 and continued for 22 years, culminating in four MLS seasons for D.C. United, the Colorado Rapids and Sporting KC. After retiring in 2001 with an ankle injury, his family said, he became depressed and had problems with impulse control and aggression. Eventually, he suffered from memory loss and developed a substance abuse problem. “This disease destroys families, and not just football families,” said Vermillion’s father, Dave Vermillion. “We hope this will be a wake-up call to the soccer community to support former players and get them the help they need, so some good can come from this tragedy.”

BASKETBALL

Storm sign former MVP Tina Charles for the rest of season

Tina Charles is set to begin a new chapter of her career with Seattle.Christian Petersen/Getty

The Storm signed former MVP Tina Charles for the rest of the season on Tuesday, three days after the five-time first-team all-WNBA center was let go by Phoenix in a messy divorce from the Mercury. Charles, 33, was averaging 17.3 points and 7.3 rebounds in 16 games this season with the Mercury before the sides agreed to end her contract last weekend. She’s expected to make her debut with Seattle on Wednesday night against Las Vegas. The WNBA’s leading scorer last season with Washington, Charles signed with Phoenix in February, a day after the Mercury added Diamond DeShields in a three-team trade with Chicago and New York. The additions were expected to give the Mercury a huge boost to a roster that already had Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner, and Skylar Diggins-Smith, but the Mercury struggled badly with Griner detained in Russia. Charles will become the fourth overall No. 1 pick on the Storm roster along with Bird, Jewell Loyd, and Breanna Stewart. All four played on the US team that won gold at last year’s Olympics.

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MISCELLANY

Red Bull F1 team fires reserve driver Vips for using racial slur

Red Bull terminated the contract of Formula One test and reserve driver Jüri Vips for using a racial slur during an online gaming stream. The 21-year-old Estonian was suspended by Red Bull last week pending an investigation into the language he used. Vips had apologized for his actions. “Following its investigation into an online incident involving Juri Vips, Oracle Red Bull Racing has terminated Juri’s contract as its test and reserve driver,” Red Bull tweeted. “The team does not condone any form of racism.” Vips stepped in for Red Bull’s F1 driver Sergio Pérez in the first practice session for the Spanish Grand Prix last month and finished last. Vips has three podium finishes this season for the Hitech Grand Prix team in the F2 championship. The case has similarities to that of Kyle Larson, the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion who was suspended in 2020 for using a racial slur while playing a video game. He was dropped by his sponsors and fired by Chip Ganassi Racing, but spent time immersed in diversity programs before returning.

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WooSox, Sea Dogs both win

Kutter Crawford fanned eight batters and allowed two runs in six innings as the Worcester Red Sox beat the Rochester Red Wings, 4-2 . . . The Portland Sea Dogs beat the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, 5-4, on a walk-off sacrifice fly from Hudson Potts in the 10th inning.

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