Sports Extra

auto racing

Brian Zimmerman identified as fan killed by lightning

LONG POND, Pa. – Brian Mattson and Tom Deacher climbed into their truck and got set to leave saturated Pocono Raceway. That’s when the lightning bolt slammed into a tent canopy just a couple of rows away from where they parked, shooting off sparks like a Roman candle.

The NASCAR fans jumped out and found two men on the ground. Deacher and others tried to administer CPR until paramedics arrived.

The lightning strike was one of two that hit the just outside the track Sunday during a confusing and tragic end to a shortened day of racing. One of the bolts killed 41-year-old Brian Zimmerman, and a total of nine others were injured.

A day later, Pocono officials said they warned fans to take cover when the weather turned nasty – even as stock cars continued to race around the track – while some fans insisted there was no warning. Others took to Twitter and Facebook to say the announcements in the grandstands and camping areas to seek refuge in their cars came too late after the worst of rain hit the track.

Zimmerman, of nearby Moosic, died as he stood near his car with the back hatch open in the raceway parking lot, according to the Monroe County coroner. A woman who answered the phone at Zimmerman’s home declined comment.


Autopsy on Crew’s Urso reveals no signs of trauma

COLUMBUS, Ohio – An autopsy performed on Columbus Crew midfielder Kirk Urso on Monday did not reveal any trauma, and the coroner ssaidays signs point to “an apparent natural death” pending results from toxicology tests.

The 22-year-old Urso was pronounced dead at 1:50 a.m. local time Sunday at Grant Medical Center after collapsing at a downtown Columbus bar and restaurant.

Franklin County Coroner Jan Gorniak said toxicology tests will not be finalized for four to six weeks. “We are leaning toward an apparent natural death, but we don’t know why,” she said. The autopsy showed “heart changes” which may not have contributed to death.

Urso played in six games with the Crew and was rehabbing from a sports-groin injury sustained in May. He did not travel to the game at D.C. United on Saturday night.


Seahawks roll the dice and sign Terrell Owens

RENTON, Wash. – Terrell Owens is coming back to the NFL after one year on the sidelines.

The 38-year-old Owens had a tryout with the Seattle Seahawks on Monday, and hours later the team announced it had agreed to terms with the former star receiver. He hasn’t played in the NFL since the 2010 season with Cincinnati, when he caught 72 passes for 983 yards and nine touchdowns.

He then had surgery on his left knee and didn’t receive any offers to play last season.

Owens had 35 catches for 420 yards and 10 touchdowns while playing eight of 11 games for the Allen Wranglers of the Indoor Football League. He was released and lost an ownership stake in the team in May.

Owens started 201 of the 219 regular-season NFL games he has played. He has 1,078 receptions for 15,934 yards and 153 touchdowns – the second most in league history.

First female official will call preseason game Thursday

SAN DIEGO – Shannon Eastin will become the first female to officiate an NFL game when she works as a line judge for the Green Bay at San Diego preseason match Thursday night.

The regular NFL officials have been locked out by the league.

Eastin is a college referee who has worked in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (FCS division). She is one of the replacement officials hired by the NFL and has 16 years of experience.

A resident of Tempe, Ariz., Eastin also has won six national judo championships. She was the youngest judo athlete ever to train at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, doing so when she was 11.

The officiating team for the Hall of Fame game Sunday night included officials who have worked college games and some professional games, such as in the Arena Football League.

Associated Press