76ers’ Jrue Holiday was big.It had been a while since Philadelphia won a playoff game, in Boston, but Monday night the 76ers were undaunted by that gory past — and the Celtics considerable home-court advantage.Doug Collins’ band of young, talented players held it together in the fourth quarter — unlike in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series — and earned an 82-81 victory to even the series at 1-1 and assume home-court advantage.Seocnd-year forward Evan Turner made the driving, go-ahead layup with 40.4 seconds left and Phlly held off with six straight free throws down the stretch. Turner finished with 10 points, including his layup that put the Sixers up 76-75. He added two free throws with 12 seconds to go.Guard Jrue Holiday scored 18 points and Andre Iguodala added 13 points, seven assists and six rebounds for the Sixers, who blew a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter as the Celtics won Game 1.Kevin Garnett had 15 points and 12 rebounds and Ray Allen scored 17 points for the Celtics.Game 3 is Wednesday in Philadelphia.Philadelphia led 57-49 entering the fourth, but Boston tied it twice before going up 72-71 on Avery Bradley’s 3-pointer, setting off a series of shots from beyond the arc.Holiday answered with a 3 for the Sixers, then Ray Allen got the lead right back for the Celtics on a 3-pointer with 1:40 left. The Celtics had a chance to extend the lead after forcing the Sixers into a 24-second shot clock violation, but Rondo missed a shot and Iguodala got the rebound, leading to Turner’s layup to put the Sixers up 76-75 with 40.4 seconds to go.
Nine youth football coaches or associates in South Florida are facing felony charges in connection with a system of rampant, elaborate and high-dollar gambling on little league football.The charges are the result of an almost 18-month investigation by the Broward Sheriff’s Office into gambling on youth football, an investigation called “Operation Dirty Play” prompted by ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” show that exposed flagrant betting during games in the South Florida Youth Football League.Those arrested on felony bookmaking charges were: Brandon Bivins, Darren Brown, Vincent Gray, Brandon Lewis, Brad Parker, La Taurus Fort, Willie Tindal, Darron Bostic and Dave Small.Six of the nine facing charges — men who coached boys ages 5 to 15 — are ex-convicts with a history of felony drug, assault and theft charges. If found guilty of felony bookmaking, essentially organized gambling, each could be facing up to five years in prison.Though the games featured little boys, the gamblers made big bets, said Det. Solomon Barnes, whose confidential informant, along with other undercover deputies, placed bets on youth football during the police investigation. Barnes said $20,000 was bet in a rivalry game between the Northwest Broward Raiders and the Fort Lauderdale Hurricanes a few weeks ago. And up to $100,000 would be bet on the youth leagues’ final championship games of the season, he said.“They take all innocence away from the game when they involve themselves in these criminal acts,” the detective said. “And it’s just mind-blowing what we discovered in this investigation.”The initial “Outside the Lines” story in May 2011 showed people exchanging money in the stands and along the sidelines in plain view of fans, children and even law enforcement. One coach swapped cash with other men at a playoff game. When “Outside the Lines” returned last December — after league officials said they would work to deter gambling — the flagrant betting seemed to be gone. But as detectives would later learn, the publicity only pushed the illegal wagering further underground.Not only was the gambling in full force, Barnes said, but the coaches were the ones promoting and organizing the bets and setting point spreads on the games. The gambling involved multiple youth football leagues.The detective said he and others witnessed two coaches taking bets on the sidelines of a game involving their own teams, another having collected a wad of cash that he waved in front of the players indicating how much was riding on them. Dozens of men crowded into a backroom gambling parlor where a special window serves those wanting to bet on youth games.
LeBron James, the consensus best player on the planet, turns 30 today. What better opportunity to compare/contrast his career to that of the player widely considered G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time) at this point in his remarkable career. Some believe James can overtake Jordan by the time he is done. Tall order. Here’s a look at some their stats, facts and other stuff.A Legend is BornIn a sense, 30 years ago two legends were born—one literally, one figuratively. When Michael Jordan started his career as the No. 2 pick in the 1984 NBA Draft, LeBron James was. . . less than two months old. So, James did not see Jordan win Rookie of the Year or see him in his second season, after playing just 18 regular-season games because of a broken foot, go for 63 points against Larry Bird in an epic playoff performance at old Boston Garden and follow it up with 49 points in the next game. It was then that “Air Jordan” was born and the phenomenon of Michael Jordan erupted—just as James was learning how to walk.
The story was much the same about 30 years later, in 2006, when the NCAA convened a task force to study levels of spending. The conclusion, as expressed by task force chairman Peter Likins? “There seems to be an unsustainable trend in financing athletics.”We can find even more examples of the NCAA sustaining “unsustainable” spending. In July 1929, at the end of a boom decade, the Carnegie Foundation put out a detailed report documenting what it saw as many evils in the college sports scene of the day.2 The study found that: “Since 1906 [college sports’] intensity has not abated, intercollegiate rivalry has not grown appreciably kinder, and specialization has much increased; costs have mounted amazingly.”More than two decades earlier, in 1902, the New York Daily Tribune ran a study of the elite of college sports,3 what we now know as the Ivy League, and found that other than Harvard and Princeton, athletics were finding it “difficult to make ends meet.” The biggest culprit? The cost of providing food for athletes was overwhelming some schools. The only answer, at least for Yale, was to balance the yearly deficit for athletics by dipping into “undergraduate subscriptions” (i.e., student fees) among the student body as a whole.So the modern NCAA’s tale of woe — expenses outpacing revenues, students forced to pick up the tab for athletes receiving perks — is older than the NCAA itself, which was founded four years after the Daily Tribune exposé. For more than a century the crisis has persisted, ever looming, never arriving. So what’s going on here?As far back as Howard Bowen’s revenue theory of cost, economists have known that within the context of a nonprofit organization, if a department on campus gets a budget, it spends it. Revenues grow, budgets grow, spending grows. The NCAA itself commissioned a series of reports (in 2003, 2005 and 2009) by several economists, which basically said each new dollar of college sports expense goes hand in hand with a new dollar of revenue. And NCAA President Myles Brand even bragged about this dynamic in a 2006 speech:Universities attempt to maximize their revenues and redistribute those resources according to their educational mission. Universities are nonprofit corporations, and as such, they do not generate profits for private owners or shareholders. But they do have an obligation to generate significant amounts of revenue to pursue their mission.The definitive word goes to University of Michigan professor Rod Fort, author of a 2010 paper on the topic in the Journal of Intercollegiate Sport. Fort shows what all of these anecdotes and the economic theory predict, which is that college sports expenses have grown at the exact rate as revenues for as long as the data exists. Even writing in the midst of the Great Recession of 2007-09, Fort found that “little seems to threaten the sustainability of FBS athletic departments,” and he used (and showed) data (the NCAA’s own revenues and expenses reports) to support his claim.What Fort found was that from 1960 until 2006, “In real terms, the annual growth rate in the average report of both revenues and expenses is 4.9%, nearly twice the typical growth rate in the economy at large.”Graphically (and extended out to 2010, with thanks to Fort for his data), here’s the trend: Year after year expenses zoom ever upward, but so do revenues. Revenue and expenses are basically locked together like you’d expect of a department that spends its budget and a budget that’s set based on expected revenue.And indeed, almost on cue, despite all of the gnashing of teeth and rending of garments over the unsustainability of college sports revenues, news arrived Tuesday that the Big Ten has negotiated a new deal that blows its old deal out of the water, estimated to be worth $40 million for each of the 14 schools in the innumerately named conference.So how has this perpetual crisis rhetoric survived so long in the face of year-over-year revenue growth? The best explanation comes from a working paper by two economics professors at Western Kentucky University, Brian Goff and Dennis Wilson, which explains how useful it is to look poor whenever someone comes looking for money:Keeping awareness of the rent flow4 low, permits either certain athletic or other university officials discretion over use of the flows. As a result, the most common practice over many decades has been to minimize or diminish apparent surpluses. In fact, the supposed losses have been a means for university presidents to pursue “cost containment.”In other words, we’re always in a crisis because the people in power have a vested interest in seeming poor. This means many of those who’ve been predicting a looming college sports apocalypse have something very much in common with your run-of-the-mill apocalypse cult: They have something to sell. It’s worked for a century, so why not keep selling it until people stop buying? Once or twice a year, as predictably as the launch of college football season or March Madness, we’re treated to the “everyone’s broke” meme in college sports. Sometimes it’s pegged to the football season. Sometimes we hear about it in the context of a new TV deal worth billions. And sometimes it’s tied to the release of new numbers, as was the case last week when USA Today released its trove of college sports accounting data as a resource for researchers everywhere. Along with the data they compiled, Erik Brady, Steve Berkowitz and Jodi Upton put out a companion piece addressing the familiar claim that college sports are reaching a crisis point where they will begin to crumble under their own cost. As economics professor Andrew Zimbalist says in the article, “It’s an unstable situation.”The USA Today article then pivots from its ominous opening, quoting industry participants such as school presidents and former TV executives who have their doubts about the situation — the theme being that claims of financial doom are nothing new for college athletics, and they’ve not come true yet. But in a story built around financial reports showing that 90 percent of the industry is losing money, the clear theme seems to be “this time it’s real.” It’s unsustainable!A sober reading of the history of these claims of unsustainable spending leads to a very different conclusion — specifically: NCAA expenses track with revenue and have done so for decades. But rather than hand-wringers learning from the past and ferreting out Occam’s ledger — the accounting isn’t telling the whole story — decade after decade we see similar fretting over schools losing money on college sports yet spending more and more, surely building to a “bubble” that has to burst. “This time it’s real” has been part of this sky-is-falling rhetoric for over a century.For example, in 1975, the NCAA was worried about costs. As many economists and historians before me have noted,1 this worry over costs coincided with a period of economic stagnation and inflation in which much of America was worried about costs. NCAA members gathered in what was called a “special” convention with the goal of taking collective action to control costs. The president of the NCAA opened the conference with a dire warning that likened the crisis to an urgently needed amputation:Due to the intense competitive nature of the intercollegiate athletics, it seems the only way to successfully curtail costs is at the national level. … The NCAA, to be an effective instrument, must adopt measures to curtail costs which may well guarantee the continuation of intercollegiate athletics. … We urge you to put aside, or at least put in second place, your special interests and put as primary the goal of curtailing costs so intercollegiate athletics may survive. It is probably better to cut off the hand than to die.The members made it clear that the crisis was dire and the solution was NOT to raise more revenue, because that wasn’t realistic. The only answer was to lower the cost of scholarships. A representative from Bowling Green explained:We know that the generation of new income is unlikely, if not impossible. It is only the number of grants, the source of funds and the revised basis for grants that any real economies can be made. For most of us, a good many of the other proposals here are nickel and dime stuff, when we are talking about real dollars, we are talking about grants-in-aid.The result in 1975 was that the elements of cost of attendance that had been allowed previously (course supplies and a monthly stipend known colloquially as “laundry money”) were banned by common agreement. Of course, revenue did go up, and not surprisingly, expenses managed to keep rising at the same rate — the money saved by lowering the cost of scholarships simply moved into other forms of spending.Here’s what that revenue growth has looked like since 1992, shown against the growth in the list cost of tuition.
For around the clock OSU sports updates, follow the Lantern Sports Twitter @lanternspts24_7 The Ohio State men’s hockey team picked up its first series win and sweep of the season over Western Michigan.The Buckeyes defeated the Broncos both Friday and Saturday, winning each game by a score of 4-2. Although the scores of the games were the same, the methods of winning were drastically different.Friday’s four-goal third periodOhio State started slow in the opener before catching fire in the third. The Buckeyes outshot the Broncos 12-5 in the first period, but found themselves behind on the scoreboard. Western Michigan capitalized on its first power-play opportunity as Jared Katz put a shot past goaltender Dustin Carlson.The Broncos held their 1-0 lead until Paul Kirtland scored for the Buckeyes at the 4:50 mark in the third period. Kirtland, after being released from the penalty box, immediately took the puck down the ice and hit a shot that found its way past goaltender Riley Gill. The goal initiated a wave of momentum in the Buckeyes’ favor.Hunter Bishop struck again for the Buckeyes at the 5:24 mark, and Mathieu Picard added his first goal of the season just 15 seconds later for the Buckeyes’ third goal in 49 seconds.Western Michigan cut the Buckeye lead in half with its second power-play goal of the game, this time on a five-on-three. But Peter Boyd iced the game for the Buckeyes scoring with only 2:26 remaining, pushing the Buckeye lead back to two.“I really liked the fact that when the game was over, the first thing I looked at was Dusty [Carlson] getting the big hug from Kyle Reed,” coach John Markell said. “It was just nice to see that we got the win for whoever’s in net.”The win is Carlson’s first of the season. The junior finished with 19 saves and helped the Buckeyes kill five of the Broncos seven power plays. Markell said he was pleased with Carlson’s performance.“The first goal was not his fault. They got two power-play goals, and one was off the shaft of his stick. The other one was a five on three,” Markell said. “Our job now is to go back, assess the tape, and know that in this league and college hockey you have to be able to back up a game.” The Buckeyes were able to do just that the next night.Saturday night sweepMarkell expressed concern that OSU might not be focused on Saturday after coming off a win and anticipating the football game that night for the Big Ten title.However, the Buckeyes were able to maintain their focus and came out strong in the first period. Zac Dalpe started the scoring for the Buckeyes, recording a power-play goal to give OSU a 1-0 edge.Later in the first period, Hunter Bishop hit a backhand shot past Western goaltender Riley Gill to put the Buckeyes up 2-0.But the Broncos were resilient and capitalized on a five-on-three power play late in the first. Western’s Greg Squires hit a shot, which deflected off a defender’s skate, then floated past goaltender Cal Heeter to cut the Buckeye lead in half.Similar to Friday’s game, no goals were scored in the second period, so the Buckeyes carried their 2-1 lead into the third.In the third period, Peter Boyd hit a centering pass from behind the goal, which Dalpe ripped to the back of the net for his second goal of the game.The Broncos again came back, scoring halfway through the third period, drawing them to within one.But for the second night in a row, Boyd sealed the victory for the Buckeyes with a late score. This time, it was an empty-net goal with just 19 seconds remaining, putting the Buckeyes up 4-2 to match the score of Friday night’s game.Heeter had a big night in goal for the Buckeyes, finishing with 36 saves.“You figure anytime you put 38 shots on net, I’d like to think you would score more than a couple of goals,” Broncos coach Jim Culhane said. “I think Cal [Heeter] played a tremendous game for OSU and really made some quality saves for them.”With the win, Heeter moved to 4-1-1 on the season. The Buckeyes, now winners of three straight, look to carry their momentum into next week’s matchup against Ferris State.
After enduring two postponed games because of inclement weather in their series with the Pawtucket Red Sox, the Columbus Clippers split a doubleheader Friday, losing the first game, 5-2, and winning the second, 3-0. The series, which was set to begin Tuesday, was pushed until Wednesday because of poor weather. There were two more weather-related postponements during the four-game series before it ended Friday night. “It has been a little tough because we haven’t been able to take batting practice in a week, so we have been off that a little bit,” Clippers manager Mike Sarbaugh said. “But the guys have handled it well, and we know it’s part of the game.” The first game of Friday’s doubleheader began at 5:05 p.m., finishing up the five innings that were left over from Thursday night. The Clippers lost the game, 5-2, but they weren’t finished. The second game began at 7:05 p.m. and lasted seven innings. The Clippers pulled out a 3-0 win behind right-handed pitcher Zach McAllister, who is now 7-0 on the season after holding the Red Sox to just three hits. The Clippers (28-14) and Red Sox (21-20) finished the series, 2-2. McAllister is the first International League pitcher to obtain seven victories on the season, according to the Clippers website. “I felt like I was able to use my fastball pretty well tonight and locate both sides of the plate,” McAllister said. “Obviously I left a couple pitches that they were able to hit, but I thought I had a decent mix. I like to get early outs, and when I have my defense behind me, that’s huge.” The game remained scoreless until the bottom of the third inning, when Clippers outfielder Josh Rodriguez homered to center field, putting the Clippers on the board, 1-0. “Off the bat I knew I hit it well, but I didn’t think I hit it well enough to, or at least high enough to, get it out,” Rodriguez said. “But the ball was traveling well tonight, and I was able to get it out.” The other two runs resulted from a Red Sox error in the bottom of the sixth inning, clinching the win for the Clippers. “In games like this where you have seven innings, you like to get on the board early, help your pitcher out, help him relax, but Zach didn’t really need that,” Rodriguez said. “He pitched a hell of a game. We got on the board early. It was a good outing for us, and that’s what we needed.” Many players said the inclement weather put a damper on the Clippers’ normal routine. “You have to get used to it,” McAllister said. “Everyone plays in bad weather, but I don’t think it affects us as much as some people might think. I’ve played in it my entire life. It’s just a matter of getting your mind right before you go out.” However, Sarbaugh noted, the weather can affect the overall routine of the team. “Baseball players are routine oriented, so we have been off that a little bit,” Sarbaugh said. “I think it shows more in the defense because you aren’t getting that defensive work during batting practice, but the guys have handled it well.” The Clippers will host a four-game series against the Durham Bulls (24-17) beginning May 21.
Redshirt-freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett sprained his MCL in the first half of an Oct. 25 game against Penn State, but stayed in to lead the Buckeyes to a 31-24 double-overtime win.Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editorWhen Urban Meyer said his quarterback had a sprained MCL, some Ohio State fans might have cringed — for good reason.It’s the second straight season the third-year OSU coach has seen his starting quarterback suffer that injury, after all. But unlike then-junior Braxton Miller — who missed two games and all but the opening drive of another with the same injury in 2013 — redshirt-freshman J.T. Barrett is expected to play this weekend after hurting his knee on Saturday against Penn State.On Monday, Meyer stressed that Barrett would play in the Buckeyes’ Saturday matchup with Illinois, and the quarterback reiterated the same point — barring unforeseen circumstances — on Wednesday.“It would have to be something drastic happen between now and Saturday at 8 o’clock,” Barrett said. “But I plan on playing Saturday.”During the Big Ten teleconference on Tuesday, Meyer said he expected Barrett to be “full-go” at practice on Wednesday, but that didn’t quite end up being the case.“He went — I wouldn’t say quite full — be he’ll be full tomorrow, they’re telling us,” Meyer said after Wednesday’s practice. “He did good, real good.”Barrett said practice went “fine” for him, and added he did most of the things he would normally do at practice, but not everything.“I was limited at first, but then today got out there and did team stuff at the end, which was good,” he said.“Dropping back, jogging a little bit, just normal things.”Junior offensive lineman Taylor Decker agreed that Barrett seemed “fine” in practice, and said the quarterback was trying to make sure he takes care of his knee.“Obviously he is trying to be careful with his knee, you don’t want to tweak it anymore,” Decker said Wednesday. “Hope to have him as healthy as possible coming back for the game, but he has looked fine to me.”While he’s been limited in practice since the injury, Barrett didn’t miss any significant time during the Buckeyes’ double-overtime win against the Nittany Lions. In fact, he ran for 32 yards during the extra periods and scored both of OSU’s overtime touchdowns on the ground.On the other hand, Miller originally hurt his knee during the Buckeyes’ opening drive in their second game of the 2013 season against San Diego State University, and didn’t return to the field until week five against Wisconsin.Despite the stark contrast in the amount of time missed, Meyer said Barrett’s injury is “very similar” to the one Miller suffered just over a year earlier. But he was sure to stick to his expertise when addressing why Barrett could play when Miller could not.“I’m not a doctor,” Meyer said. “(Barrett’s injury is) probably not as severe.”Meyer added that MCL sprains are fairly common and don’t require surgery, and went on to say some players simply react differently to injuries.“Everybody is built differently, I guess, but once again, I’m not a doctor,” he said.As he decided to leave speculation out of the picture and trust the medical experts when it comes to the differences between Miller’s injury and Barrett’s, Meyer said he listened to his medical staff after the initial injury as well.“At halftime, they said he got an MCL sprain,” Meyer said. “I said, ‘how bad?’ And they said, ‘well, we’ll see how it goes.’”Apart from one drive when redshirt-sophomore quarterback Cardale Jones, redshirt-freshman H-back Jalin Marshall and sophomore H-back Dontre Wilson all took snaps, Barrett didn’t miss any game time after spraining his knee.Barrett — who tore his right ACL in the last game he played at Rider High School in Wichita Falls, Texas, before spraining his left MCL against the Nittany Lions — said he’d never played through a similar injury in the past. He added he wouldn’t have stepped back on the field if he wasn’t fully ready to play.“I’ve actually really never played with an injury to this degree,” he said. “But I knew that I could take a drop, I could run, so it was just one of those things like, ‘Hey man, if you play, you play.’ It’s not like going in there half stepping, because if so, the team could use a Cardale Jones that could go full-go.”Even after playing through it on Saturday, Decker said Barrett is likely still hurting in practice this week.“I’m sure he has got some pain but he played the whole second half with it, so I have no doubts that he will be back and be ready,” he said.Barring “something drastic,” Barrett is set to lead the Buckeyes against the Fighting Illini on Saturday at Ohio Stadium. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m.
In a note the MoD had told personnel: “It remains possible that the perpetrator may attempt to place further devices.”British Transport Police confirmed that they had increased security arrangements because of the discovery and would be stepping up patrols.The discovery of the suspect device and the subsequent arrest came 11 years after the 7/7 bombings when the London transport network was targeted in a terror attack that killed 52 passengers. Another witness, a man called Ali, 30, said: “The armed police, I think five of them, ran behind him and put him on the floor.”He was struggling not to get arrested for like a good five minutes. They were shouting ‘armed police, don’t struggle’. Everything happened so quick.”Emi Koizumi, 42, added: “We saw loads of police, including armed [police] and also plain-clothed [officers] with their faces covered.“The plain-clothed police ran off down the street towards Highbury Corner right as we walked up.“No one would tell us what was going on under the railway bridge.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Officers came from behind him and tasered him. They jumped on him. He was on the floor.Witness on Holloway Road Police on Holloway Road, north LondonCredit:PA WIRE One onlooker said the police appeared to be waiting for the suspect.The suspect, described as Asian in appearance with black hair, was tasered in the back as he walked along.A shop worker who did not wish to be named said: “He was just walking down the street doing his business.”He was just a normal guy walking along slowly.”He was definitely Asian and he definitely had black hair and I think he was in his 20s.”Officers came from behind him and tasered him.”They jumped on him. He was on the floor.”They checked him. They put him in a car and took him away.”I saw the whole thing from where I work.” Specialist forensic officers will examine the suspect package over the weekend and sources said it would be early next week before they could determine exactly what it was.Scotland Yard said the arrest came “following the discovery of a suspicious item on a tube in north Greenwich”.A statement said: “The 19-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of the commission, preparation and instigation of terrorism acts, under Section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000. He has been taken to a London police station where he remains in custody.”Police said they were not looking for anyone else in connection with the suspected device.The arrest came as security experts warned that militants from Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) may try to attack the UK as a reprisal for its support for the offensive on Mosul.Hundreds of battle-hardened jihadists are also expected to return to Europe as Isil’s caliphate in Iraq and Syria shrinks in the face of the Western-backed offensive. Police arrested a 19-year-old man on suspicion of terrorism offences after the suspect device was found A terror plot to target the London Underground has been foiled after police found what they suspect to be a viable bomb on a tube train, planted by a terrorist planning further attacks.A 19-year-old man was tasered and arrested by armed counter-terrorism officers on Friday, a day after the suspect device was found on board a train near the O2 centre.On Friday it emerged that security officials had contacted the Ministry of Defence after the find, to warn serving military personnel, and the threat level for transport in London had been raised to severe to reflect that an attack was highly likely. Details of the suspected plot emerged in the memo sent to serving military personnel, forwarding a warning from the security agency that monitors terror threat levels.The memo said the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre “has raised the threat level for transport in London to severe: an attack is highly likely”.It said: “This increase is in response to the discovery of a suspected viable improvised explosive device (IED) on a London Underground train yesterday.“It is unknown who placed the device and what their motivation was. Therefore it remains possible that the perpetrator may attempt to place further devices. The threat level will continue to be reviewed as further information is received.”It is understood the threat level for transport outside London remains unchanged at moderate. The scene on Holloway RoadCredit:PA WIRE The Home Office declined to comment on the threat level and other bodies including Transport for London and Network Rail also refused to comment.The teenage terror suspect was later arrested outside London Metropolitan University on Holloway Road, around 10 miles from where the suspected bomb was discovered in north Greenwich.Witnesses described the young man being dragged to the ground by plain-clothed masked officers carrying machine guns.
Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. The NHS 111 phone line may be fuelling Accident & Emergency pressures as “risk-averse” call handlers flood hospitals with 50,000 more patients a month, new figures suggest.A new report warns that the non-emergency phoneline is heaping strain on ambulance services – and is prone to “serious underperformance” when calls spike.The analysis shows that in just three years, there has been a 67 per cent rise in 111 calls which ended with a paramedic being called out, and a 65 per cent increase in cases which ended up at A&E.The report, by the Nuffield Trust, warns of “great variability” between different areas, with some too eager to call out paramedics, while others were too reluctant.The think tank said much of the total rise was explained by an increase in use of the controversial phoneline since 2013, following a “chaotic and patchy” rollout.But even taking account of the increased overall call numbers, the figures suggest that an extra 20,000 patients a month are being sent to emergency services, the analysis found.In North East England during, 17 per cent of callers were transferred to an ambulance compared to 8 per cent in South Essex, figures from 2016 show. Professor John Appleby, chief economist and director of research for the Nuffield Trust, said: “Halfway through one of the toughest winters the NHS has endured in recent times, we wanted to see whether there was any truth in the assertion that referrals from NHS 111 may be contributing to the pressure on A&E departments and ambulance trusts.”What we found was a bit of a mixed picture.”It’s a concern for the NHS that the proportion of callers sent to A&E and ambulances is growing all the time; but surveys of callers appear to show that even higher numbers would have opted for these emergency services if they hadn’t been able to ring 111.”What’s not clear is why different areas are sending such varying numbers of callers to ambulances and A&E, and it would be worth NHS England or the Department of Health investigating the reasons for this.”The report said the line was “prone to serious underperformance when calls spike on wintertime holiday weekends” and had failed to meet a key response target for two and a half years. “This is a very high level of variation, and it is a problem for emergency services and patients if some areas are too eager or too reluctant to send an ambulance,” the authors wrote.In December 2013, the NHS 111 phone line called out ambulances in 89,802 cases – rising to 150,258 cases last December, the analysis reveals. And the number of monthly callers told to take themselves to A&E rose from 53,530 to 88,378 over the same period.Researchers suggested the high use of ambulance service, compared with the numbers advised to go to A&E as a “walk-in” case was of particular concern.”This is the opposite of what happens with patients in general, where far more people attend A&E than are despatched in an ambulance.”It does lend some plausibility to the suggestion that NHS 111 is too risk averse with people who have more urgent problems.” The document suggests that of 1.4 million visits in January, only 82 per cent were dealt with in under four hoursCredit:Peter Byrne/PA Wire However, researchers concluded the phone line may have also prevented millions more cases from seeking emergency care.Surveys of 111 callers suggest that up to 45 per cent of those polled said without the line they would have sought emergency care. After making the call, 20 per cent ended up at A&E or in an ambulance, the report said – though it suggested that callers might be “fallible” judges of what action they would really have taken, when asked after the event.