High school football player dies following head injury

A high school football player died after he was hit during a varsity game in upstate New York and suffered a head injury. The death stunned his school community and came at a time when youth sports are under scrutiny over whether enough is being done to protect players’ heads.

Ridge Barden, a 16-year-old lineman from John C. Birdlebough High School in Phoenix, was face down after the play Friday and was able to sit up, but he complained of a very bad headache and collapsed when he tried to stand, authorities said.

“The coaches and trainers went over. He was talking. He rolled on his back by himself,” Phoenix School District Superintendent Judy Belfield said Saturday.

Birdlebough was playing at Homer, south of Syracuse.

An ambulance took Barden to a hospital, and he was being transferred to a larger medical center in Syracuse when his condition deteriorated, Belfield said. The ambulance turned around, but doctors were unable to save the boy’s life.

Homer police Officer Donald Warner, who was working at the game, said police were investigating but there was no suspicion of criminal activity.

“It looks like just a bad accident,” he said.


Zoo’s rare zebra, foal back in enclosure after roaming

An endangered female zebra and her foal that escaped from their exhibit and forced the evacuation of a Boston zoo have returned to their enclosure.

The zebras at the Franklin Park Zoo escaped late Saturday morning. No injuries to animals or humans were reported.

Operator Zoo New England said the baby broke through the exhibit’s electrical fencing and its mother followed.

The foal returned to the enclosure about 40 minutes later. Its mother was led back to the zebra barn at midafternoon. The zoo then reopened.

Zoo New England said the fencing was tested and working before the zebras escaped.

The animals are Grevy’s zebras, a species found primarily in Kenya that numbers only 2,500 worldwide. It was the baby’s first day in the exhibit.


Running of bulls in desert attracts 200 participants

It’s not the streets of Pamplona, but a couple hundred people got a similar thrill by running from bulls in the Arizona desert.

Nearly two dozen bulls chased more than 200 people in the first of several runs Saturday on a quarter-mile, fenced track in the small town of Cave Creek.

Based on the annual running of the bulls in Spain, the weekend-long event drew dozens of spectators and hundreds of runners – some who paid to do all the runs.

Similar to Spain, numerous runners showed up dressed in red and white.

Organizers say the Cave Creek version is safer because the bulls are rodeo animals. However, participants had to sign a lengthy liability waiver and medical form.


4 mentally disabled adults found locked in basement

 Authorities said four mentally disabled adults have been found locked in a Philadelphia basement suffering from malnutrition.

Officer Tanya Little said police were investigating a report of squatters in a building on Longshore Avenue on Saturday. When police arrived, she said they found three men and a woman locked in a room in the basement behind a steel door that was chained up.

Police said the victims had the mental capacity of 10-year-olds. Little said they were taken to a hospital and listed in stable condition.

She told The Philadelphia Inquirer that they had been living in “deplorable” conditions. It wasn’t immediately clear how long they had been in the basement.

Police and other city officials are trying to determine who was responsible for their care.

— From news service reports