Each week, KHN finds interesting reads from around the Web.
The Washington Post: An Olympic Hockey Hero Was Accused Of A Violent Crime. Was Head Trauma To Blame?
He walks into the courtroom, hands cuffed at his waist, an armed deputy in a flak jacket at his side. He wears a white-and-gray striped jumpsuit with “Lake Co. Jail” in large red letters on the back. Short with neatly combed hair, a trimmed gray beard and brown plastic-rimmed glasses, he does not glance at his 87-year-old mother in the front row or at his sister beside her, or his brother or two cousins and a friend. He sits at a small table beside his attorney and faces the judge. This does not look like someone who beat his neighbor so badly with a metal bar in August that the man was hospitalized with two cracked ribs, a bruised kidney, a fractured vertebra, and welts over his legs, arms and back. Nor does he look like the American hero who set up the goal that beat the Soviets in the 1980 “Miracle on Ice.” (Rosengren, 2/12)
Undark: For Israelis And Palestinians, A Battle Over A Humble Plant
For just under three months a year, towards the end of the winter rains, Samir Naamneh and his wife Nadya get up at 4 in the morning, gear up in improvised camouflage, and pack into a truck headed from Arraba, their Arab village in Israel, to the Golan Heights. During this season, the volcanic plateau is carpeted with delicate wildflowers and dotted with hundreds of endangered gazelles. To the trained eye, the lush, grassy slopes are also bursting with an unassuming, wildly lucrative thistle known as akoub.“It’s healthy because it’s from the wild,” says Samir, who has been illegally foraging akoub with his wife for the last 15 years, in defiance of an Israeli ban intended to prevent over-harvesting of what officials consider an endangered native species. Akoub is a spiky, edible plant found in a wide swath of the Middle East, from the mountains of Turkey down through the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Golan Heights to the Sinai Desert in Egypt. (Rubin, 2/10)
ProPublica: Warship Accidents Left Sailors Traumatized. The Navy Struggled To Treat Them.
Two and half years after a massive oil tanker cleaved the side of the USS John S. McCain, leaving a gaping hole and killing 10 sailors, hospital corpsman Mike Collins is still haunted by the aftermath. That morning in August 2017, awoken by the thunderous shaking, the 23-year-old was thrust into round-the-clock motion: Tending to the chemical burns of the sailors whose sleeping area flooded, their flesh raw from the fuel that spilled in with the seawater. Collecting the heavy stack of the dead’s medical records. Staying up late trying to purge the stink of diesel that clung to their uniforms, so the clothes could be returned to grieving families. (Rose, Tsutsumi and Miller, 2/12)
The New York Times: He Had Trouble Breathing, And Inhalers Didn’t Help. What Was Going On?
The 65-year-old man collapsed into the driver’s seat of his car in a small town outside Philadelphia. He could hear his breath: ragged, wheezy and fast, interrupted by a relentless cough. Winter was always bad for his breathing, but that year had been particularly hard, and that morning felt more difficult than usual. Just walking from his house to his car left him gasping for air as if he had sprinted the short distance. (Sanders, 2/12)
The Washington Post: Esports Pros Say Adderall Is Everywhere. Leagues Don’t Have Many Solutions.
Aspiring to become a full-time streamer and make a career out of his love for gaming, former semipro Halo player Matthew “MellowMajik” Murphy follows a weekly ritual. Every Friday and Saturday night, he comes home and gets on his new favorite game, Fortnite. But before he logs on, Murphy swallows a pill he thoroughly believes will aid him in becoming the best player he can be. “Typically I would be exhausted, tired and lose motivation after only a couple hours,” Murphy said. “With Adderall, I am able to play better than I ever have for up to 12 hours.” (Hamstead, 2/13)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.