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Health Headlines

    Authorities said they found more than three dozen people, including eight who were dead, in the truck's trailer after an employee at the San Antonio Walmart where it was parked overnight called the police. One later died at a hospital. San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood said Saturday that the trailer didn't have a working air conditioning system and the victims 'were very hot to the touch.' Thomas Homan, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, told The Associated Press that based on initial interviews with survivors, there may have been more than 100 people in the truck at one point, including some who were picked up by other vehicles or who fled. This and other tragic instances of human smuggling, including a 2003 case in Victoria, Texas, in which 19 immigrants died, highlight the dangers that extreme heat poses to would-be immigrants. ___ TREACHEROUS TRAILER With a high of 101 degrees (38 Celsius) in San Antonio on Saturday, the temperature inside a parked car would have reached 120 degrees (49 Celsius) in 10 minutes, said Jan Null, a meteorology professor at San Jose State University who tracks U.S. child deaths in vehicles on his website, www.NoHeatStroke.org. Within 20 minutes, the temperature would have risen to 130 degrees (54 Celsius). The lack of windows on the trailer in San Antonio may have reduced the temperature inside by a couple degrees because of the lack of direct sunlight, but the heat and moisture from the bodies of everyone inside would have added heat and humidity. Enduring those temperatures for any length of time is dangerous, said Dr. Eric Ernest, assistant professor of emergency medicine at University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. 'Those are very brutal conditions that the human body wasn't meant for,' he said. ___ HEAT HAZARDS When heatstroke sets in after a person's body heat rises above 104 degrees (40 Celsius), perspiration shuts down, eliminating the body's primary method of cooling itself through the evaporation of sweat. At this point, a person's skin begins to feel hot and appear red, and a person suffering heatstroke may appear confused, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Around 107 degrees (42 Celsius), cells start to die and organs can begin to fail. Once that happens, a person's health can deteriorate quickly. 'The body loses its ability to deal with heat,' Ernest said. Higher humidity makes things worse because perspiration won't evaporate as quickly. One of the best ways to avoid heat-related illnesses is by drinking plenty of fluids, which authorities say weren't available to those on the truck. 'In 100 degree temperatures, you almost can't drink water fast enough,' Null said. ___ DANGEROUS HEAT Children, the elderly and people who are ill are most susceptible to heat-related problems because their bodies can't cool themselves as effectively as a healthy adult's can. The CDC says about 618 people die in the U.S. each year from heat-related illnesses. Roughly 37, on average, are children who die in vehicles, according to Null's count. ___ Follow Josh Funk on Twitter at https://twitter.com/funkwrite . Sign up for the AP's weekly newsletter showcasing our best reporting from the Midwest and Texas at http://apne.ws/2u1RMfv .
  • The Senate will move forward with a key vote this week on a Republican health bill but it's not yet known whether the legislation will seek to replace President Barack Obama's health care law or simply repeal it, the third-highest ranking Republican senator said Sunday. Sen. John Thune of South Dakota said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., will make a decision soon on which bill to bring up for a vote, depending on ongoing discussions with GOP senators. Thune sought to cast this week's initial vote as important but mostly procedural, allowing senators to begin debate and propose amendments. But he acknowledged that senators should be able to know beforehand what bill they will be considering. 'That's a judgment that Senator McConnell will make at some point this week before the vote,' Thune said, expressing his own hope it will be a repeal-and-replace measure. 'But no matter which camp you're in, you can't have a debate about either unless we get on the bill. So we need a 'yes' vote.' He said the procedural vote will be held 'sometime this week.' President Donald Trump has said he wants Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare, but would accept a straight-repeal of the law if senators couldn't reach agreement. In a sign of the high stakes involved, Trump exhorted senators anew Sunday night to pass health legislation. 'If Republicans don't Repeal and Replace the disastrous ObamaCare, the repercussions will be far greater than any of them understand!' Trump tweeted. The Republican-controlled House in May passed its version of a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or 'Obamacare.' Senate Republicans are now considering two versions of similar legislation, one that would repeal and replace, and another that would simply repeal Obamacare with a two-year delay to give the Senate more time to agree on a replacement. Both versions encountered opposition from enough GOP senators to doom the effort, but McConnell is making a last-gasp attempt this week after Trump insisted that senators not leave town for the August recess without sending him some kind of health overhaul bill to sign. In the Senate, Republicans hold a 52-48 majority. They can only afford to have one of their senators defect and still prevail on a health bill. That's because Republican Sen. John McCain is in Arizona dealing with brain cancer, while Democrats are standing united in opposition. Vice President Mike Pence would cast a tie-breaking vote. Thune said no matter the outcome of the upcoming vote, senators would continue working to pass health legislation no matter how long it took, having promised voters they would do so. 'We are going to vote to repeal and replace Obamacare,' he said, arguing that it was better if done sooner rather than later. 'It's not a question of if, it's a question of when.' Still, at least two Republican senators Sunday appeared to reaffirm their intention to vote against the procedural motion if it involved the latest version of the GOP's repeal-and-replace bill. Moderate Susan Collins of Maine said she continued to have concerns about reductions to Medicaid and criticized the Republican process, saying lawmakers were being unfairly kept in the dark. Under McConnell's plan, 22 million more people would become uninsured by 2026, many of them Medicaid recipients. She wants to hold public hearings and work with Democrats. 'We don't know whether we're going to be voting on the House bill, the first version of the Senate bill, the second version of the Senate bill, a new version of the Senate bill, or a 2015 bill that would have repealed the Affordable Care Act,' Collins said. 'I don't think that's a good approach to replacing legislation that affects millions of people.' Conservative Rand Paul of Kentucky said he would only support a repeal-only bill. That version would reduce government costs but lead to 32 million additional uninsured people over a decade. At least three senators including Collins have previously expressed opposition to that plan. 'The real question is what are we moving to? What are we opening debate to? Last week, Senate leadership said it would be a clean repeal ... and I think that's a good idea,' Paul said. 'The other alternative is the Senate leadership bill that doesn't repeal Obamacare, is Obamacare light and is loaded with pork. ... I'm not for that.' Thune appeared on 'Fox News Sunday,' Collins was on CBS' 'Face the Nation,' and Paul spoke on CNN's 'State of the Union.' ___ Follow Hope Yen on Twitter at https://twitter.com/hopeyen1
  • A new book by a former South African military doctor that documents Nelson Mandela's medical treatments before his 2013 death violates doctor-patient confidentiality, according to some relatives of the anti-apartheid leader and Nobel laureate. But the retired doctor, Vejay Ramlakan, said in an interview this weekend on the eNCA news channel that the Mandela family had requested that the book be written. While Ramlakan declined to say which family members had given permission for the book, his remarks could indicate continuing rifts in a family whose members have feuded over the years on issues such as inheritance. The book, 'Mandela's Last Years,' covers Mandela's health while he was imprisoned during white minority rule, during his tenure as South Africa's first black president and in retirement. It also focuses on the dramatic final months of Mandela's life, when he was suffering a lung infection and other ailments before dying at age 95. 'It documents the complex medical decisions; disputes between family members and staff; military, political, financial and security demands; constant scrutiny from the press; and the wishes of Mandela himself, all of which contributed to what he and those closest to him would experience in his final days,' according to Penguin Random House, the publisher. Mandela's widow, Graca Machel, said she is considering legal action and will consult with the executors of Mandela's will, South African media reported. 'We are deeply disappointed that the doctor appears to have compromised himself and the man whom he had the privilege to serve,' Nkosi Mandela, a grandson of the anti-apartheid leader, said in a statement. He said the book might contain ethical violations. In the eNCA interview, Ramlakan said he had permission to write the book and that 'all parties who needed to be consulted were consulted.' Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Mandela's ex-wife and a prominent figure in the anti-apartheid movement, was with her former husband when he died, according to Ramlakan, a former surgeon general of South Africa who headed Mandela's medical team. 'She's the one who was there when he passed on,' he said. 'I think Mrs. Machel was in the house or busy with other issues. But I have no idea because I was focusing on my patient.' ___ Follow Christopher Torchia on Twitter at www.twitter.com/torchiachris
  • Protesters who want critically ill British baby Charlie Gard to receive an experimental medical treatment rallied Sunday, while hospital officials say emotions are running so high in the heart-breaking case they have received death threats. A small group of about 20 activists supporting Gard's parents, including some from the United States, gathered Sunday afternoon outside the High Court in London where legal proceedings will resume Monday with new medical evidence expected. Charlie has a rare genetic condition and suffers from brain damage. His case, which pits his parents' wishes in conflict with the views of doctors treating him, has generated international attention. His parents are fighting to get him more medical care but Great Ormond Street Hospital officials say the experimental treatment won't work and will just cause the 11-month-old more suffering. They argue that his life support should be turned off and he should receive palliative care. Hospital chairwoman Mary MacLeod said the London police have been contacted because of numerous threats received by the hospital's employees. 'Staff have received abuse both in the street and online,' she said. 'Thousands of abusive messages have been sent to doctors and nurses whose life's work is to care for sick children. Many of these messages are menacing, including death threats.' MacLeod said families visiting other ill children have also been 'harassed and discomforted' on the grounds of the renowned hospital in London. Charlie's parents have lost all previous court cases, including one before the European Court of Human Rights, which were designed to force the hospital to let them bring their son to the United States for an experimental treatment. The loss in the European court, following an earlier defeat in Britain's Supreme Court, seemed final. But both Pope Francis and U.S. President Donald Trump expressed an interest in Charlie's fate, and the hospital asked for a new court hearing because of what the family claimed was new medical evidence. Charlie has been examined by Dr. Michio Hirano, an American neurology expert from Columbia Medical Center in New York who has designed the proposed experimental treatment. The doctor's findings are expected to figure heavily in Monday's court proceedings, as are the results of Charlie's recent brain scans. A lawyer representing the hospital said in a brief hearing Friday that the latest brain scan results make for 'sad reading.' That prompted an angry outburst from Charlie's father, Chris Gard, and prompted his mother, Connie Yates, to burst into tears.
  • Dozens of people have been sickened and at least one person has died in a salmonella outbreak linked to a specific variety of papayas, the Centers for Disease Control said. A total of 47 people in 12 states have been diagnosed with salmonella infections believed to have been caused by yellow Maradol papayas, the CDC said in a news release. >> Read more trending news At least a dozen people have been hospitalized and one death has been reported, according to the CDC. Illnesses were first reported in mid-May and ended in late June, but the CDC said any illness reports filed after June 23 may not be captured in the current data. The CDC urges all consumers, restaurants and other businesses to refrain from serving and eating yellow Maradol papayas at this time. The yellow Maradol papaya is described by the CDC as 'a large, oval fruit that weighs 3 or more pounds, with green skins that turn yellow when the fruit is ripe. The flesh inside the fruit is salmon-colored.
  • The Senate parliamentarian added a new complication to Republican hopes for their floundering health care bill, ruling the GOP would need to win an all-but-impossible 60 votes to retain anti-abortion provisions in the measure, Democrats said late Friday. Democrats said the parliamentarian decided another provision providing Medicaid savings for upstate New York counties would also need 60 votes to survive. Democrats said they believed that means other bill language benefiting Alaska and other states — which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put into the legislation to try winning support from those states' senators — is in jeopardy. Republicans contested Democrats' description, saying the parliamentarian's views were guidance only. They said the legislation's wording was subject to change as leaders work behind the scenes to win over GOP senators, and said efforts would continue to craft the provisions in ways that would pass parliamentary muster. Republicans have a 52-48 Senate majority, and at least one Republican said late Friday that the GOP is short of the votes to move ahead with Sen. John McCain in Arizona dealing with brain cancer. 'Without John McCain, we don't have 50 people to take that vote,' Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma said at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver. Democrats have been unified in opposing the GOP repeal effort. Few Democrats would be expected to join them to retain anti-abortion provisions, and none would likely side with the GOP to retain the state-specific language. That means it seems certain Republicans would fall short of reaching 60 votes. Republicans have said they plan to begin voting on their health care legislation Tuesday. That might be delayed if McConnell, R-Ky., is still hunting GOP votes. 'The parliamentarian's guidance helps inform us as we write legislation before going to the floor,' said Eric Ueland, Republican staff director of the Senate Budget Committee. 'We look forward to continued preparations for votes next week.' One abortion provision in jeopardy would block federal payments to Planned Parenthood for a year. Another would forbid individuals and small businesses from using the bill's health care tax credits to buy policies that cover abortion. The abortion provisions are important for conservatives. It is unclear what they would do if that language was removed from the bill. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the ruling on the New York language 'will greatly tie the majority leader's hands as he tries to win over reluctant Republicans with state-specific provisions. We will challenge every one of them.' Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said the way Republicans wrote the bill is 'a disaster,' adding, 'It is time for the Republican leadership to junk this bill.' Republicans are using special procedures for the health care bill that bar Democrats from using a filibuster to kill it. Filibusters require 60 votes to end. But under those rules, provisions must have a budget-related impact and cannot be driven primarily by making a policy change. When a bill is being debated on the Senate floor, any senator can claim that a provision violates that rule. The parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, tells the chamber's presiding senator her advice on that challenge and it is generally announced by the presiding senator. If another senator challenges that ruling, it takes 60 votes to override her ruling. ___ Associated Press writer Nicholas Riccardi in Denver contributed to this report.
  • A House committee unveiled a disputed plan Friday to allow the Department of Veterans Affairs to shift $2 billion from other programs to cover a sudden budget shortfall that could threaten medical care for thousands of patients in the coming weeks. The proposal by the House Veterans Affairs Committee would provide a six-month funding fix to the department's Choice program, which offers veterans federally paid medical care outside the VA and is a priority of President Donald Trump. To offset spending, the VA would trim pensions for some veterans and collect fees for housing loans. At least six veterans' organizations, including Veterans of Foreign Wars, immediately announced their opposition to the House plan. VA Secretary David Shulkin has warned that without congressional action, the Choice program would run out of money by mid-August. The House plan comes after days of closed-door negotiations in which veterans' groups opposed taking money from VA programs to fill Choice's budget gap, describing it as an unacceptable step toward privatizing the department. With just a week left before a month-long August recess, House Republicans and Democrats tentatively agreed on a six-month plan to allow more time to debate long-term funding and the VA's future direction. Under the plan, the reduced pensions would affect veterans in nursing homes who are covered by Medicaid, while veterans would continue to pay fees for housing loans guaranteed by the VA. Those provisions were temporarily put in place in the 2014 legislation establishing Choice and agreed to by veterans, who supported other parts of the bill, which provided additional investment in the VA. Originally set to be restored in 2024, the reduced benefits would continue until 2027. A House vote was planned next week. House Veterans Affairs Chairman Phil Roe of Tennessee and Rep. Tim Walz of Minnesota, the panel's top Democrat, pledged to revisit in the coming months the issue of providing additional investment in the VA, such as boosting recruitment and hiring of VA staff. Also to be considered was a proposal backed by House conservatives that would create a presidentially appointed panel to review whether to close some VA-run medical centers to reduce costs. Carlos Fuentes, legislative director of Veterans of Foreign Wars, said the organization would urge members of Congress to vote against the bill. Joe Chenelly, executive director of AMVETS, warned that the House plan would set a dangerous precedent by 'cannibalizing' VA services to pay for outside care. Veterans' groups oppose greater privatization as a threat to the viability of VA medical centers, which they see as better-suited to treat battlefield injury. 'The bottom line here is that Congress is taking money out of the VA to put in Choice. That is a bleed-it-dry tactic that we all oppose,' Chenelly said. Also expressing opposition Friday were Disabled American Veterans, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Military Order of the Purple Heart and Wounded Warrior Project. In the Senate, the Republican chair of the Veterans Affairs Committee, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, has not indicated whether he will adopt the House proposal. The panel's top Democrat, Jon Tester of Montana, introduced a bill earlier this month that would provide equal levels of extra funding for Choice and VA programs. Shulkin announced the budget shortfall last month, citing unexpected demand from veterans for private care as well as poor budget planning. To slow spending, the department last month instructed VA medical centers to limit the number of veterans it sent to private doctors. The VA had previously assured Congress that funding for Choice would last until the end of the year. Put in place after a 2014 wait-time scandal at the Phoenix VA hospital, the Choice program allows veterans to receive care from outside doctors if they must wait 30 days or more for an appointment or drive more than 40 miles to a VA facility. Last month, Shulkin proposed giving veterans even wider access to private doctors by removing those restrictions. He is asking Congress to approve that plan this fall for implementation in late 2018. Currently, more than 30 percent of VA appointments are in the private sector, up from fewer than 20 percent in 2014, as the VA's more than 1,200 health facilities struggle to meet growing demands for medical care. During the 2016 campaign, Trump criticized the VA for long wait times and mismanagement, pledging to give veterans more options in seeing outside providers. The VA has an annual budget of nearly $167 billion. ___ Follow Hope Yen on Twitter at https://twitter.com/hopeyen1
  • The nation's largest doctors' group urged senators on Friday to stop trying to repeal or replace Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act and instead begin a bipartisan effort to stabilize the insurance marketplace. The American Medical Association said proposed Republican bills — one to repeal and replace the 2010 health law, the other to repeal only — would cause too many people to lose coverage. 'Each bill results in millions more Americans without health insurance coverage, weakened markets, less access to affordable coverage and care, and the undermining of funding for state Medicaid programs,' wrote Dr. James L. Madara, the group's CEO, in a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. The doctors group called for bipartisan cooperation, starting with action to shore up shaky insurance markets. 'Senators from both sides of the aisle have expressed interest in pursuing remedies to stabilize the individual market and foster greater availability and choice of health plans. We urge Congress to take this initial step,' the letter said. The AMA has about a quarter-million members. The Congressional Budget Office said Thursday that McConnell's latest bill would produce 22 million additional uninsured people by 2026 and drive up premiums for many older Americans. Congress' nonpartisan fiscal analyst said Wednesday the repeal-only bill would mean 32 million additional uninsured people over a decade and average premiums doubling. The AMA letter said the group is willing to work with Congress to address longer terms goals such as unsustainable trends in health care costs.
  • Cancer patients' gray hair unexpectedly turned youthfully dark while taking novel drugs, and it has doctors scratching their heads. Chemotherapy is notorious for making hair fall out, but the 14 patients involved were all being treated with new immunotherapy drugs that work differently and have different side effects. A Spanish study suggests that may include restoring hair pigment, at least in patients with lung cancer. With the first patient, 'we thought it could be an isolated case,' said Dr. Noelia Rivera, a dermatologist at Autonomous University of Barcelona. But she said the research team found the same thing when they asked other patients for photos from before treatment. The 14 cases were among 52 lung cancer patients being followed to see whether they developed bad side effects from the drugs — Keytruda, Opdivo and Tecentriq. While most patients did not have a color change, the 14 cases suggest it's not an isolated finding. In 13 patients, hair turned darkish brown or black. In one patient, it turned black in patches. In another odd twist, the same drugs have been linked previously with hair losing color in patients with another cancer, melanoma. All but one of the 14 patients in the Spanish study had at least stable disease and responded better to treatment than other patients, suggesting that hair darkening might be an indication that the drugs are working, the researchers said. Rivera said they are continuing the study to search for an explanation and to see if the cases are just a fluke. 'It's a fascinating report — one of those things that comes out of the blue,' said Dr. June Robinson, a Northwestern University research professor in dermatology. Robinson is also editor of the medical journal JAMA Dermatology, which published the study online this month. She said the results deserve a deeper look but cautioned that it's way too soon to suggest that they might lead to new treatments for gray hair. Rivera noted that the study drugs have serious side effects that make them unsafe for healthy people. But if it's confirmed that they do change hair color, a different drug could be developed to treat gray hair, she said. The pharmaceutical industry has previously capitalized on unexpected drug side effects; examples include the male pattern baldness drug Propecia, the eyelash growing drug Latisse, and Botox anti-wrinkle injections. Active ingredients in these drugs were initially approved to treat enlarged prostates, eye pressure problems, and eye muscle spasms. ___ Follow Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner on Twitter at @LindseyTanner . Her work can be found here .
  • A state panel has suspended the medical license of a Texas doctor who federal authorities say wrote unnecessary prescriptions for powerful drugs that contributed to the overdose deaths of at least seven people. A disciplinary committee of the Texas Medical Board took the action Thursday against 56-year-old Howard Gregg Diamond. His practice was based in Sherman, north of Dallas. The board says in a statement that Diamond 'poses a continuing threat to public welfare.' The suspension will remain in place until the board takes further action. A federal indictment unsealed last week alleges that Diamond began issuing prescriptions in 2010 that had no legitimate medical purpose. People who received the prescriptions died in Texas and Oklahoma. An attorney for Diamond wasn't immediately available for comment Friday.

Local News

  • Those anticipating next month’s solar eclipse have an opportunity to view the rare spectacle at the University of Georgia.  The event, Eclipse Blackout 2017 hosted by the university's geography department, will allow onlookers to view the moment Aug. 21 at Sanford Stadium.  “UGA is in a great position to view a 99.1 percent “blackout” from a total solar eclipse,” organizers wrote on the event page.  MORE: 7 things to know about the total solar eclipse crossing the nation this August MORE: Get your free eclipse glasses at these metro Atlanta libraries The first 5,000 guests will get free, custom UGA viewing glasses and can expect to see other views from around the world on the stadium’s big screen. The eclipse is expected to be over Oregon at 1:15 p.m. EDT and end in South Carolina about an hour and a half later. Peak darkness in Athens is projected to be at 2:38 p.m.  The eclipse is the first in nearly 100 years to cross the country. Due to its rarity, astronomers are calling it the Great American Eclipse.
  • Trouble appears to be brewing in Elbert County, where Bowman Mayor Betty Jo Maxwell has filed harassment complaints with the Sheriff’s Office in Elberton, complaints against Bowman City Councilman Clay Rooker. The Mayor says the Councilman made threats. The Elbert County Sheriff’s Office says its investigation is ongoing. 
  • A Jackson County man is among those charged in a bribery case in Rome: David English is 38 years old, from Hoschton. He’s facing theft, bribery, and RICO allegations, accused of taking bribes as a security contactor for the Floyd County School System. English owns Southeastern Security Professionals; he’s accused of taking more than $60,000 from the school district in Rome over a four-year period that ended in 2014. 
  • Athens-Clarke County Commissioner Kelly Girtz says he will kick off his 2018 campaign for mayor with a rally on September 9. Girtz joins Harry Sims as Commissioners who say they will run to replace a term-limited Athens Mayor Nancy Denson. Also in the race are Antwon Stephens, Richie Knight, and Sam Thomas.  'We can build a strong foundation that will support Athenians of every walk of life, one that will set the stage for great lives for generations ahead,” said Girtz. “A safer, healthier, more prosperous Athens is awaiting, and I can't wait to work with you to build it.”  The election for Athens-Clarke County Mayor will be held on May 22, 2018. 
  • The victim of a Thursday accident at a quarry in Oglethorpe County has been identified. Matthew Kantala was 36 years old, from Elberton. The Oglethorpe County Coroner's office says he was struck by a piece of falling granite at the Blue Sky Quarry on Veribest Road. OSHA is investigating. 

Bulldog News

  • Georgia Bulldog running back Elijah Holyfield will go through a pre-trial diversion program after his marijuana arrest of earlier this year. The son of former heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield was arrested May 1. He’s a sophomore on the Bulldog team that opens the 2017 season in 47 days. Holyfield is expected to be suspended for the September 2 home game against Appalachian State.  The sportswriters who attended last week’s SEC Media Days in Hoover Alabama voted the Georgia Bulldogs as preseason favorites to win the SEC East in coach Kirby Smart’s second season in Athens.
  • Kirby Smart said earlier this week that the Georgia football team should embrace the expectations. Well, here they are.   Georgia is officially the favorite to win the SEC East, albeit a slight one, as the Bulldogs were selected first in the division in the annual preseason media poll. Florida, the two-time defending champion, came in a close second. Georgia received 1,572 points, including 138 first-place votes, edging out Florida (1,526 points and 96 first-place votes.) The two were followed by Tennessee (998 points and three first-place votes), South Carolina (897 and five first-place votes), Kentucky (869), Vanderbilt (554) and Missouri (388). This is the fourth time in the last six years that Georgia has been picked to win the division. It met those expectations in 2012, then came short in 2013 and 2015. Last year, for Smart’s first season as Georgia’s head coach, the media picked Georgia to finish third. The Bulldogs ended up in a three-way tie for second. “When you come to the University of Georgia, the expectation is to win championships. That’s what we expect to do at the University of Georgia, and that’s the standard we’ll be held to,” Smart said from the podium during his turn at SEC media days. Georgia also received six votes to win the entire SEC championship, third-most behind prohibitive favorite Alabama (217) and Auburn (11).  Auburn and Mississippi State, the two West division teams that Georgia faces, were picked second and sixth in their division, respectively.  
  • Georgia Bulldog running back Nick Chubb was named Georgia Collegiate Athlete of the Year at last night’s Atlanta Sports Awards show. Chubb and his Bulldog teammates are today 50 days away from the season opener against the Appalachian State Mountaineers, a September 2 contest in Sanford Stadium.   Chubb, a native of Cedartown, Ga., was chosen from an all Bulldog group of finalists including track and field’s Keturah Orji and swimming and diving’s Olivia Smoliga, who were both 2016 U.S. Olympians.   This marks the second year in a row that a University of Georgia student-athlete has won the Collegiate Athlete of the Year honor after golfer Lee McCoy enjoyed the honor in 2016. The first accolade of this sort was given in 2006 and since football’s D.J. Shockley won the inaugural honor, there have been nine Bulldogs to garner the award. Five of those Georgia team members selected have been football players, including Jarvis Jones going back to back in 2011-12.   Chubb finished his third season as Georgia’s No. 2 all-time leading rusher with 3,424 yards, trailing only Herschel Walker (5,259). Named one of the team’s overall captains following the 2016 season, Chubb went for 1,130 yards and eight rushing touchdowns last year. This marked the second 1,000-yard season of his career after Chubb tallied 1,547 yards and 15 scores as a freshman in 2014. He was named the SEC Freshman of the Year and a Freshman All-American following his first year.   Chubb returned in 2016 following a season-ending knee injury that he sustained in game six of his sophomore year in 2015. In his season debut last year, Chubb exploded for 222 yards on 32 carries (6.9 average) and two touchdowns in the win over #20 North Carolina during the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. He completed his third year with a 147-yard performance during the victory over TCU in the Liberty Bowl.
  • Georgia will be getting a key player back at full speed in time for fall camp.   Speaking at SEC Media Days on Tuesday, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart Bulldogs defensive tackle Trenton Thompson will be ready to go after an offseason that including rehabbing a shoulder injury and withdrawing from spring classes in February to deal with an unspecified medical issue. Thompson will be a big part of a Bulldogs defense that returns ten starters from last season. In 2106, Georgia finished No. 16 in the nation in total defense, allowing only 327.5 yards per game while allowing 24 points per game, good for 35th overall. A sophomore last season, Thompson recorded 56 total tackles, including 9.5 for a loss and five sacks.  
  • HOOVER, Ala. — Georgia football signees Robert Beal and Devonte Wyatt have yet to qualify to enroll at UGA, but coach Kirby Smart remains hopeful it will happen soon.  “They’re not ready yet to come in yet,” Smart said on Tuesday at SEC Media Days. “We think we could get them in any day, any minute. And that’s the hope.” Beal is a linebacker who finished his high school career at Suwanee’s Peachtree Ridge High School, after also spending time at IMG Academy and Norcross High School. He was rated a 4-star prospect by 247Sports, Rivals and Scout, and a 5-star by ESPN. At one time, he was committed to Notre Dame. Wyatt is a defensive lineman from Decatur’s Towers High School. He was rated a 4-star prospect by 247Sports and Scout, and a 3-star by Rivals and ESPN. Neither player was expected to contend immediately for playing time, given the team’s veteran depth at their positions. But coaches were clearly high on the potential of both. “We talk to them a lot about staying in shape, because they’re not there with our guys working out,” Smart said. “So those guys get a program, they’re encouraged to do it, it’s hard to oversee it. So you want those guys to work out and stay in shape so that when they do qualify they’re able to come in and help.”