Mercury star Diamond DeShields knew going into her surgery on Jan. 17, 2020 that there were risks to remove the grape-sized tumor on her spinal cord, she told ESPN’s Holly Rowe.

The biggest risk was possible paralysis because the surgeons were working near her spinal nerves, and the tumor could be intertwined with nerves.

Her surgery was predicted to take three hours, but ended up taking nine hours. In the end, DeShields’s tumor was removed, but her nerves were damaged. When the surgery was over, she had tremors and involuntary spasms and wondered if she would be able to control her body again.

In a story reported by Rowe, DeShields opened up about the impacts of the surgery, including the tremors that made her have full body seizures. At one point, she wondered if her WNBA career was over.

“I remember being in so much pain,” DeShields said. “My whole body went into contraction. I had no control over my arms.”

She stayed in the hospital for six days, followed by nine days in a rehab facility so she could relearn how to walk, for example. But, that wasn’t DeShields’s end goal.

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“I’m not trying to learn how to walk,” DeShields said. “I’m trying to learn how to run and jump and defend and do all the things that, you know, a basketball player is supposed to do.”

Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, followed by the WNBA bubble. DeShields had to decide if she wanted to rejoin her team at the time, the Chicago Sky, in Florida even if she wasn’t sure she could play yet. She decided to travel to Florida in order to have support from her coaches and teammates. 

She continued to participate in her rehab exercises. The guard hadn’t publicly shared the story of her surgery, so she did her best to conceal her secret during the televised games. At times, shoes weren’t comfortable for her because her feet were still numb, so she would be seen just in socks on the bench.

DeShields ended up playing in 13 games during the 2020 bubble.

Fast forward to Oct. 17, 2021, and DeShields helped the Sky win their first franchise WNBA title. As she celebrated with her team, she said he focused on how far she’s come since her back surgery. Not only was she celebrating her team’s success, but she was celebrating her own journey, too.

“I have a lot of expectations moving forward and kind of getting this off me now,” DeShields said. “I’ve been sitting with this for a long time, you know? And it’s time that I put it behind me. I’m healthy now. And I expect a lot.”

More WNBA Coverage:


Bianca Andreescu opened up on Tuesday about her mental health in her first competitive tennis match in seven months.

After winning 7-6, 6-3 over Jule Niemeier in the Round of 32 at the Stuttgart Open in Germany, Andreescu addressed the crowd and touched on the reasons she took a break from competitive tennis since the Indian Wells tournament in October 2021.

“I was struggling a lot mentally. I just wasn’t enjoying myself out there,” Andreescu said in a post-match interview following her return. “I really identified myself too much with the sport. Whenever I lost, it sounds a bit dramatic, but I hated myself. If I won, I loved myself. It was kind of like that.”

Since winning her first Grand Slam title at the US Open in 2019 and peaking at the No. 4 seed on the WTA tour, Andreescu has dealt with various injuries and extended breaks that have prevented her from maintaining elite status. The 22-year-old Canadian is currently ranked 121 in the world, largely due to inactivity.

“Before, when I was playing, when I won, or if I lost, I was just super happy to be on court. That’s kind of the mentality I want to keep going this year,” Andreescu added. “I feel like if I keep having the right mindset, just going out there, enjoying myself, preparing the best way that I can and just giving my all, I think the results will come.”

Andreescu told WTA Insider’s Courtney Nguyen that she “actually wanted to quit the sport” as a result of the physical and mental challenges she’s faced over the past two and a half years.

Andreescu is the author of an upcoming book aimed to help kids deal with their mental health, titled Bibi’s Got Game: A Story About Tennis. The children’s book is slated to hit the shelves on May 31.

Andreescu is scheduled to face No.3 seed Aryna Sabalenka on Thursday in the Round of 16 in Stuttgart.

Under the direction of 32nd-year head coach Pat Owen, the Navy men’s golf team will open its 2021 fall campaign this weekend when it travels to Farmingdale, N.Y. to compete in The Doc Gimmler. Hosted by St. John’s, the two-day, 54-hole event is slated to begin on Saturday on the Red Course (par-70, 7,092 yards) at Bethpage State Park. Tee times for Saturday’s first round have not yet been announced.

The Field

Navy is among a 15-team field that includes the host, St. John’s, along with Colgate, Columbia, Connecticut, Hartford, Hofstra, Holy Cross, Iona, Lafayette, Lehigh, Towson, Villanova, Xavier and Yale.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, last year’s Doc Gimmler was pushed from its traditional fall date to the spring. The host Redstorm (276-280-271=827) led wire to wire, claiming the team title with a 13-under par 827, 18 strokes better than second-place Hartford 291-276-278=845). St. John’s players finished 1-2-3 with Jack Simon earning medalist honors with a 6-under par 204. Simon will defend that title in his senior season.

The Midshipmen did not compete in spring edition of The Doc Gimmler due to travel constraints in response to the pandemic.

The Course

Bethpage State Park features five 18-hole regulation golf courses, including the world-renowned Black Course which was the site of the United State Open in 2002 and ’09, The Barclays in 2012 and ’16 and will play host to the Ryder Cup in 2024, the PGA Championship in 2019 and The Barclays in 2021 and 2027. The Red Course at the Bethpage State Park opened in 1933 in Farmingdale, N.Y. and has served as the home of the Long Island Open Championship qualifier’s round since 2012.

Follow The Action

Fans can follow the Mids throughout the weekend via Golfstat.

Navy’s Lineup

1. Chad Deegan (Sr / Newport Beach, Calif.), 2. Nicholas Klock (Sr / Morago, Calif.), 3. Keegan Shreves (Jr / Potomac, Md.), 4. Benjamin Valdez (Fr / Stevenson Ranch, Calif.), 5. Andrew Wilkinson (Fr / Ashland, Va.).

More on the Mids

Navy returns three All-Patriot League standouts to its lineup this fall, including team captain Chad Deegan who owned Navy’s second-lowest average of the 2020-21 campaign. Deegan, who has been in the Mids’ regular lineup since arriving in Annapolis as a freshman, finished last season with a 73.86 stroke average among the four events in which were played using stroke play. Deegan garnered Second-Team All-Patriot League recognition his sophomore season.

Keegan Shreves earned First-Team All-Patriot League honors a season ago after tying for third place, while Nicholas Klock grabbed second-team accolades after a ninth-place finish. Shreves closed out last season with a 77.29 stroke average that featured a pair of top-10 finishes in the four tournaments in which he played, while Klock posted a 74.00 stroke average, placing among the top 10 in both events in which he competed.

Newcomers Benjamin Valdez and Andrew Wilkinson will make their collegiate debut for the Mids this

How a travel bubble between Singapore and Germany could set the blueprint for Australia’s international flights once 80% jab target is reached

  • From Wednesday Singapore removes quarantine for arrivals from Germany 
  • The ‘vaccinated travel lane’ will only apply to fully jabbed arrivals over 12
  • The policy provides an example for how Australia can roll out travel bubbles 

Singapore is about to allow quarantine-free travel from Germany after vaccinating 80 per cent of its population in a taste of what’s to come for Australians when the international borders finally open.

The so-called ‘vaccinated travel lane’ will begin on Wednesday for fully jabbed travellers, but excludes under 12s for whom there are no approved vaccines.

Instead of quarantining for 14 days, arrivals will have to get tested when they land in Singapore and isolate at home or in a hotel until their negative result.

Singapore (pictured) is opening up travel bubbles with 80 per cent of its country vaccinated

The lane only applies to people who did not leave Germany in the 21 days before their flight. Germany already allows unrestricted arrivals from Singapore.

It is primarily for business travel with seven flights a week to Frankfurt and Munich. 

The policy shows how Australia could set up travel bubbles once vaccination rates hit 80 per cent, expected in November.

‘Singapore is a good example for Australia to pay attention to because we are probably going to be in a similar situation – we need to open up and we need to do it in a way that Covid-19 is going to become endemic,’ said Peter Collignon, an infectious diseases physician at Canberra Hospital.

Scott Morrison’s national re-opening plan allows for outbound travel when the 80 per cent jab rate is hit. 

Millions of Australians are enduring Covid lockdowns. Pictured: A Sydney resident at Kings Cross on Monday

Millions of Australians are enduring Covid lockdowns. Pictured: A Sydney resident at Kings Cross on Monday

Australians will be able to do home quarantine for seven days when they get back from a trip or have no quarantine at all if arriving from a travel bubble country.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said his nation would gradually open its borders to the world. 

‘We will move step by step – not in one big bang like some countries, but cautiously and progressively, feeling our way forward,’ he said.  

Singapore, a nation of 6million, only recorded an average of 185 new Covid cases per day last week.  

Transport Minister S Iswaran said opening up was essential to keep the economy alive.

‘The current situation is not sustainable. As a small and open economy, Singapore’s survival and success depends critically on being open and connected to the world,’ he said. 

In 2019, Singapore welcomed a record 19.1 million travellers – more than three times its total population, with China, Indonesia and India contributing 40 per cent.

On Friday Mr Morrison confirmed that Australians will be allowed on

PETALING JAYA: Several countries in Asia have been working towards opening up their tourism sector by opening travel bubbles between low-risk countries.

In Singapore, the government has allowed for a fully vaccinated travel lane with Germany and Brunei that will begin on Sept 8.

Under this travel arrangement, the special lanes will be open for leisure, business or family visits for fully vaccinated travellers.

The travellers, too, will be able to enter Singapore without the need for home quarantine.

But its government noted that travellers will still be required to undergo the Covid-19 RT-PCR test 48 hours before departing for Singapore and will be subjected to an on-arrival test upon landing in the country.

They will also be subjected to a post-arrival test on days three and seven at a Singapore-designated clinic.

In Thailand, the country has implemented a “tourist sandbox scheme” in Phuket and Samui that kicked off on July 1 and July 15 respectively.

Under the scheme, fully vaccinated travellers from 70 countries and territories are allowed to travel to the two islands without quarantine.

These travellers are subjected to RT-PCR testing before arrival.

Meanwhile, in South Korea, the country also launched a quarantine-free travel bubble with Saipan that started on July 24.

Taiwan also implemented a travel bubble with Palau in April.

HAHIRA – The Valwood Valiants officially kick their season off this Friday as they travel to St. Simons Island to battle their rivals, the Frederica Academy Knights.

The Valiants hope to have the same success they had last season in their season opener as they beat Georgia Christian to get the football season underway. The 1-0 marker didn’t last long due to the Knights coming in the following week to hand them their first loss.

The Valiants and Knights are well-acquainted with each other over the past four years, with some of their meetings happening in the playoffs.

The Vailants have won three of the last four games in the series with the Knights taking a road win last year at Goddard Field.

Payback could be served Friday night as the two teams square off once again.

Gearing up for his fourth season at Valwood, head coach Justin Henderson has the utmost respect for the Knights.

“It’s been a tough one the last couple years,” Henderson said. “They have done a fantastic job building their program over there and the play a good, physical brand of football. It’s always a great early season test for both programs. The last four years, one of these teams has played for the state championship.”

The Knights, coached by Brandon Derrick, are coming off of a 9-4 season and looking to repeat the same output they got from last year.

Sophomore running back Jordan Triplett, who had a field day with the Valwood defense last year, is back. Triplett scored two touchdowns and posted 167 yards of total offense against the Valiants last year.

In preparation for the Knights, Henderson knows his defense must come at the young back tougher this year.

“We have to tackle their running back Triplett, who had his way with us last year,” Henderson said. “He’s big, fast and physical, so we have to get him down on contact.”

The Valiants will have Dru Womack leading the team at the quarterback position this year as he looks to lead Valwood past the Knights this Friday.

Womack was big last year for the Valiants in the passing game as a pass-catcher. This year, he will be delivering the ball to his weapons.

Friday’s game will be the season opener for both teams and each will be looking to see what they need to fix and what they are great at to start the season.

Henderson wants his quarterback to have good day this Friday.

“I hope he leads, keeps his composure and has a good mental day,” Henderson said. “When we call on him to pass, I’d like to see him get the ball out on time and make the correct reads.”

Kickoff for tonight’s game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Vaccinated tourists from Hong Kong, Macao, Germany and Brunei will soon be allowed into the country without needing to enter quarantine but some restrictions still apply. Video / Mediacorp

Singapore has announced they will be reopening their borders to allow in vaccinated tourists from a range of destinations, including residents from Hong Kong, Macao, Germany and Brunei.

Travellers from the listed countries will be able to enter Singapore from September 8 without needing to enter quarantine, essentially meaning they can bypass the isolation requirement if they test negative to four Covid-19 tests.

The testing requirements for the new travel lanes mean each person will require a pre-departure test within 48 hours of their scheduled flight, an on-arrival test at Changi Airport, and post-arrival tests on days three and seven at a designated clinic in Singapore.

If a foreign visitor fails or refuses the tests, they may face charges under the Infectious Diseases Act.

If someone tests positive after landing into Singapore, they will be issued a stay-home notice to be quarantined in a dedicated facility, authorities said.

Under the new travel order, a person must be fully vaccinated for two weeks after they have received both doses of either Pfizer, Moderna or other vaccines listed under the World Health Organisation (WHO) emergency use list, such as Sinovac and AstraZeneca.

In June, as one of the world’s most successful countries at combating Covid-19, Singapore said it would make major changes to the way it managed the pandemic.

Travellers from Germany and the EU can now bypass quarantine requirements. Photo / Unsplash, Joe Green
Travellers from Germany and the EU can now bypass quarantine requirements. Photo / Unsplash, Joe Green

The city state of Singapore has stated Covid-19 will be treated like other endemic diseases such as the flu.

There will be no goals of zero transmission. Quarantine will be dumped for vaccinated travellers and close contact of cases will not have to isolate. It also plans to no longer announce daily case numbers.

Senior Singaporean ministers have said it is the “new normal” of “living with covid”.

“The bad news is that Covid-19 may never go away. The good news is that it is possible to live normally with it in our midst,” wrote Singapore’s Trade Minister Gan Kim Yong, Finance Minister Lawrence Wong and Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said in an editorial in the Straits Times this week.

“It means that the virus will continue to mutate, and thereby survive in our community.”

Having never returned to zero cases, Singapore now no longer wants to.

German Ambassador to Singapore, Dr Norbert Riedel, welcomed travellers from Singapore on the two-way bridge into the Schengen zone.

“My fellow Germans have a very positive image of Singapore and the achievements of its people, and I am sure that Singaporeans will be welcomed with an open mind and cheerful spirit,” he told The Straits Times.

Singapore never returned to zero cases. No, it appears it never wants to. Photo / Unsplash, Swapnil Bapat
Singapore never returned to zero cases. No, it appears it never wants to. Photo / Unsplash, Swapnil Bapat

Like most countries, Singapore had an initial peak of cases last year, topping

CHENNAI: Phased unlocking and resumption of commercial activities boosted hiring sentiments in June as new job requirements rose around 15%-20% on an average month-on-month after a lull in May, and almost doubled compared to June 2020, as war for talent in the technology sector and hectic ramp up of teams in healthcare and pharmaceuticals accelerated the growth.
However contact services sectors including travel, hospitality, and conventional retail are still recovering, with the expectation of return of buoyancy for the rest of the year if the pace of vaccination continues and the pandemic is contained.
TimesJobs’ monthly RecruiteX index showed that the healthcare and pharmaceuticals sector posted maximum talent demand to ramp up resources in the industry in preparation of tackling a third wave of Covid-19. These witnessed a maximum growth of 18% in talent demand in June compared to May. On an overall basis, June recorded 5% MoM and 11% YoY growth in talent demand, as per RecruiteX. Manufacturing, IT/Telecom, BFSI, and petrochemicals are other gainers as the economy limps back to normalcy. Jobs portal in its monthly JobSpeak Index noted that hiring trends grew by 15% in June vis-a-vis May, going up to 2,359 in June from 2,047 in May.
“The strong recovery of the hiring sector at 15% in June, close on the heels of a decline in May, is encouraging. Hiring in the IT sector has seen a 5% sequential month-on-month growth and more than 52% increase from June 2019,” Pawan Goyal, chief business officer, said. Tech hiring has remained relatively insular to the pandemic thanks to digitization push. On a YoY basis, hiring in the tech sector grew 163% in June. Hiring has also picked up in Insurance (+87%), Banking/Financial Services (74%), and Pharma/Biotech (+38%), Naukri’s data shows.
Staffing firm Xpheno noted a 32% rise in hiring action in June over May 2021. “With over 2,70,000 active white collar jobs, June has emerged as the second top month for 2021 after the 2,90,000 active openings registered in March 2021,” the firm said. The growth in active job openings in June was powered by the IT services sector with a 37% growth over May.
“The technology sector was the top contributor at 81% of the job count in June. Right now, there is a huge supply-demand friction in the industry due to rising digitisation and because the IT services, IT products, global captives and startups are all dipping into the same tech talent pool,” Kamal Karanth, founder of Xpheno, said. A significant proportion of new roles posted across industries involves a fair bit of technology element, Sashi Kumar, MD, Indeed India, said. BFSI, e-commerce, IT, and healthcare have robust requirements but sectors such as travel/hospitality and beauty/wellness are down around 52% and 60% respectively, he added.

PHUKET, Thailand – In just hours, Thailand will welcome back international visitors – as long as they are vaccinated – to its famous southern resort island of Phuket without having to be cooped up on arrival in a hotel room for a 14-day quarantine.

For a minimum of two weeks, they will be free to roam the island, where preparations include having a major proportion of the local population inoculated for COVID-19.

The icing on the cake is that after that initial 14 days, visitors will be able to travel relatively freely elsewhere in Thailand – subject to the same restrictions as Thai travelers.

►Visiting Thailand:When Thailand expects to fully reopen to vaccinated visitors

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The “Phuket Sandbox” program is open to visitors from 63 countries, including the U.S., and three territories rated by Thailand as a low or medium risk for COVID-19. Requirements beyond nationality are more complicated and involve a fair amount of paperwork, in addition to being subject to changes.

The most up-to-date and detailed information will generally be available from the website of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, at, or from the nearest Thai Embassy.

Visas for stays of up to 30 days are not necessary for many nationalities. Airlines with direct flights to Phuket include Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, El Al and Singapore Airlines.

Basic requirements before departing for Phuket

  • Must have been staying in the approved home country for at least 21 days before departure.
  • Must obtain a Certificate of Entry – COE – from a Thai Embassy or consulate.
  • Must be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before departure. (Children under six years old are exempted.)
  • Must have a negative RT-PCR test for COVID-19 within 72 hours of departure.
  • Must have a minimum $100,000 medical insurance policy covering COVID-19 treatment.

Upon arrival in Phu

  • Must have an RT-PCR test for COVID-19 on the day of arrival, the sixth or seventh day of stay and the 12th or 13th day.
  • Must stay for 14 days at approved “SHA+” hotels in order to travel onward in Thailand. The booking must be confirmed before arrival. SHA+ certifies safety and health standards including having at least 70% of staff vaccinated for COVID-19.
  • Must install Thailand Plus and Morchana apps, to track health and location, respectively.
  • Must have evidence of negative COVID-19 test results over the 14-day stay for onward travel to other parts of Thailand.

By Ange Aboa

JACQUEVILLE, Ivory Coast (Reuters) – Ivory Coast and France inaugurated a new counter-terrorism academy in the West African country on Thursday, intended to boost regional capacity to combat a growing Islamist threat.

The International Academy for the Fight Against Terrorism (AILCT), in the outskirts of Ivory Coast’s commercial capital Abidjan, will include a school for government officials, a training centre for special forces, and a research institute.

It comes as Ivory Coast faces increasing attacks from jihadist groups based to the north in Mali and Burkina Faso, who are trying to expand their reach toward the Gulf of Guinea. One soldier was killed in an attack in northern Ivory Coast this week.

“The questions before us are clear: how to fight effectively against terrorist groups that are more mobile than ever… how to prevent them from importing their strategy here,” said French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian at the academy’s opening.

“Regional states must step up their military cooperation, their security cooperation, and their judicial cooperation,” he said, adding that AILCT will help with this goal.

France has a 5,100-strong counter-terrorism force in the Sahel region, but according to two sources French President Emmanuel Macron is due to announce a troop reduction on Thursday.

Le Drian will travel on Friday to Burkina Faso, where at least 132 civilians were killed last week in the deadliest attack in years, pushing the number of people killed by suspected Islamists in the Sahel to over 500 since January.

(Writing by Nellie Peyton; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)