LSU’s Sa’Myah Smith passes out during White House ceremony

LSU freshman Sa’Myah Smith passed out and was helped off a stage during Friday’s ceremony with President Joe Biden at the White House to celebrate the national basketball championship Tigers women’s ball.

Medical staff were rushed to the East Room after Smith passed out while Biden called for year-round support for women’s sports. Smith, who was standing in the risers behind the podium, slid down and was helped off the stage as the ceremony was interrupted for about 10 minutes.

“That’s a lot of standing up,” Biden said. “I’m sorry. It’s OK. It’s happened many times.”

LSU coach Kim Mulkey said Smith was fine as staff released her, and Smith later told she was “much better” after being released from care. the White House.

“I’m fine, better – much better than before,” said Smith, who returned to the team hotel. “I don’t quite remember how it all happened. I just remember waking up quite scared. The last thing I remember is saying to one of my coaches: ‘Hey, I think I’m going to pass out.'”

LSU said in a statement that Smith felt overheated, nauseous and thought she might pass out. The school also said Smith will undergo further evaluation at Baton Rouge.

Mulkey joke: “As you can see, we leave our mark where we go.”

Biden signed an old-school leather basketball for Smith, writing, “Sa’Myah – it was wonderful (to) have you in the White House. You are the best. /Joe Biden 5-26- 23”

Having LSU in the White House marked a thaw of previous tensions between the team and the administration. After the championship game, first lady Jill Biden had suggested inviting the runners-up from Iowa to the White House as well in what would have been a break from tradition.

At the time, LSU star forward Angel Reese, who averaged 23 points per game last season, said she was “hurt” by the plan, but was on hand Friday to provide a hug to Jill Biden and present her with a commemorative jersey. .

“My friends, we have witnessed history,” President Biden said. “In this team we saw the hope, we saw the pride and we saw the goal. It’s important.”

Since passing Title IX in 1972, Biden has said more than half of all college students have been women, and there are now 10 times as many female athletes in middle school and high school. He said most sports stories are still about men and that needs to change.

“We need to support women’s sport, not just in the championship race, but throughout the year,” Biden said.

Connecticut’s men’s championship team also visited the White House for its own celebration on Friday, with Biden changing from a purple tie to a blue tie to welcome the Huskies.

“Congratulations to the entire UConn nation,” Biden said.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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