© Reuters. Player Sa’Myah Smith collapses during the event as U.S. President Joe Biden hosts a ceremony for the Louisiana State University Tigers women’s basketball team to celebrate their 2022-2023 NCAA Championship season, at the White House in Washington, U.S., M
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Medical personnel were rushed into the East Room of the White House on Friday when a member of collegiate championship-winning Louisiana State University women’s basketball team fainted at an event to honor the team.
U.S. President Joe Biden called for year-round support for women’s sports when the player, who was standing in the risers behind the podium, slunk downward and was helped off the stage.
“It’s a lot of standing. I apologize,” Biden said. “It’s okay. It’s happened lots of times.”
Coach Kim Mulkey said that the player, freshman Sa’Myah Smith, was okay as personnel wheeled her out.
“As you can see, we leave our mark where we go. Sa’myah planned that,” Mulkey said.
“No, Sa’myah is fine, for those of you who are concerned. Sa’myah is fine; I’ll assure you of that… She doesn’t want to leave. She wants to stand with us but she needs to be checked out.”
The event marked a thawing of earlier tensions between the team and the administration, after first lady Jill Biden had previously suggested also inviting runners-up Iowa, a break from tradition.
Star forward Angel Reese, who averaged 23 points per game during the most recent season, had previously said she was “hurt” by the plan but was on hand on Friday to offer the first lady a hug and present her with a commemorative jersey.
The men’s championship team from the University of Connecticut were expected to arrive for a similar reception at the White House at 5 p.m. ET.
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