LSU women’s basketball player Forward Sa’Myah Smith fainted during the team’s visit to the White House on Friday, halting a speech by President Joe Biden in a scary moment.
Midway through Biden’s remarks congratulating the national champs, Smith, who was standing with her teammates, passed out. After roughly six minutes of care, she was put into a wheelchair by White House medical staff.
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“It’s a lot of standing. I apologize,” Biden said. “It’s okay. It’s happened lots of times.”
LSU coach Kim Mulkey said Smith was fine 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. 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.”
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A softening of past tensions between the team and the administration was signaled by the occasion. After the championship game, the first lady, Jill Biden, had urged breaking with convention by also inviting the runners-up, Iowa, to the White House.
At the time, LSU’s standout player Angel Reese, who averaged 23 points per game this past season, claimed the idea “hurt” her, but on Friday, she was present to give Jill Biden a hug and give her a jersey in remembrance of the occasion.
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Smith was a little embarrassed, according to Mulkey, and wanted to remain at the event but needed to be evaluated.
Smith, who played for DeSoto High School in Texas, has recently finished her first season with LSU.
This season, she participated in every one of the team’s 36 games and averaged 4.6 points and 4.0 rebounds, earning a berth on the all-SEC freshmen team. When the Tigers defeated Iowa last month to claim the school’s first national championship, Smith scored two points in ten minutes.