President Biden’s White House celebration of the Louisiana State University women’s basketball team went sideways Friday afternoon when freshman forward Sa’Myah Smith collapsed during his remarks.
via: USA Today
Forward Sa’Myah Smith was standing on a dais with her teammates when she suddenly collapsed midway through Biden’s speech praising the national champions. White House staff rushed to the stage to attend to Smith, who was helped out of the room in a wheelchair after about six minutes.
“That’s not the first time it’s happened,” Biden said.
The live-stream feed of the event was cut during the incident. LSU coach Kim Mulkey later took the podium and stressed that Smith, a rising sophomore, would be fine.
“As you can see, we leave our mark where we go. Sa’Myah planned that,” Mulkey said to laughter. “No, Sa’Myah is fine, for those of you who are concerned. Sa’Myah is fine, I’ll assure you of that. She’s kind of, right now, embarrased. She doesn’t want to leave. She wants to stand with us. But she needs to be checked out.”
Neither Mulkey nor her players were made available to reporters following the White House visit.
LSU released a statement indicating Smith was feeling overheated and nauseous before the incident. She is “in good spirits” and would travel back with the team to Baton Rouge.
After the team left the White House, Smith spoke with WBRZ sports director Michael Cauble. She said she doesn’t remember much about the incident but recalls eating something prior to the ceremony.
“I do remember telling one of my coaches, I was like ‘yeah I think I might just pass out.’” Smith said in the interview. “It was kind of hot and we were standing for a while.”
Smith’s collapse interrupted what was otherwise a celebratory day for the Tigers, who won 34 of their 36 games last season en route to a blowout victory over Iowa in the national championship game.
Smith just completed her first season with LSU after playing in high school in DeSoto, Texas. She played in every game, averaged 4.6 points and 4.0 rebounds and earned a spot on the all-SEC freshman team.
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