March 20, 2010

Larry Fleming: Raisin will run for his foundation

Saul Raisin will compete in the ING Marathon in Atlanta today, and his dramatic story, which includes a bicycle accident in a race in France that nearly cost him his life and resulted in a book being written on his ordeal, is being retold and that’s OK with the 27-year-old.

A full-time goodwill ambassador for Dalton, Raisin never misses an opportunity to tell his story and promote for his beloved Raisin Aware-ness Foundation, which gives hope to victims — and their families — who have suffered traumatic brain injuries.

Raisin, as most everyone knows by now, was on the verge of breaking out as a professional cyclist and had aspirations of competing in the famed Tour de France within a couple of years, when he suffered a horrific head injury during a professional event in Angers, France, in April 2006.

Briefly, Raisin seemed to be stabilized after the accident — the impact was so severe it cracked his helmet — but he was bleeding into his skull cavity. The pressure on his brain reached such a critical point that he slipped into a coma, later underwent brain surgery and wasn’t expected to live.

But, four years later Raisin is thriving as a featured speaker at events all over the country and he’s kept the competitive juices flowing by appearing in road races from New York to Atlanta, not to mention other parts of the country.

Raisin’s remarkable recovery — he was riding a bike by August 2006 and when the calendar turned to 2007, he attended the Credit Agricole’s — the team for which he competed — training camp.

He has worked tirelessly for his foundation since the wreck and the book, “Tour de Life: From Coma to Competition,” which was published in September 2007, spread his word that victims of serious head injuries should never give up. Through a series of bicycle races and his Raisin Hope Charity Ride event, Raisin has raised more than $100,000 for the cause.

The ING Marathon will be Raisin’s second. He ran the New York Marathon in 4 hours, 27 minutes and hopes to break the 4-hour barrier today. Don’t bet against him.

Today’s ING Marathon and half-marathon begin at 7 a.m.

• For Atlanta Hawks fans who can dish out big bucks for VIP season tickets, they better get ready to dole out even more for next season. In fact, the Hawks have informed those ticket holders the price will go up almost 50 percent next season. VIP tickets are club seats, suites and seats in other areas of Philips Arena the team designates as “premium seats.”

The Hawks have announced they will cut non-VIP seats in the lower bowl by 3 percent. Atlanta’s average announced attendance of 16,092 for 33 home games ranks 20th in the NBA this season. They’ve had six sellouts, according to a story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The average price of a Hawks ticket is $51.78, and that ranks 13th in the league.

• The Washington Nationals have decided to send No. 1 draft choice Stephen Strasburg, a right-handed pitcher to Double-A Harrisburg to start the season.

Said Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, “I’m not a believer that a player can come from amateur baseball and step right into the major leagues.”

• Did you notice that Walton’s girls tennis team recently won its 120th consecutive match. And the team has won six straight Class 5A state championships.

Now that’s domination, folks.

Larry Fleming is sports editor of The Daily Citizen. You can write to him at

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