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Instant contributors: Broncos’ 2021 draft class stepping into big roles as rookies



Instant contributors: Broncos’ 2021 draft class stepping into big roles as rookies

Entering Sunday night’s game at Kansas City, the Broncos’ 2021 draft class has combined to play 1,921 offensive/defensive snaps. A look at each player:

Pat Surtain II

Round (pick): First (ninth).

Position: Cornerback.

Games/Starts: 11/10.

Defensive snaps: 612.

About Surtain: Tied for team lead in pass break-ups (11), second in interceptions (three) and fourth in tackles (37). … At least one pass break-up in 10 of 11 games. … Entered starting lineup in Week 2 when Ronald Darby (hamstring) was injured. … Named AFC Defensive Player of the Week after two fourth-quarter interceptions (one returned for a touchdown) in last week’s win over the Los Angeles Chargers.

Javonte Williams

Round (pick): Second (35th).

Position: Running back.

Games/starts: 11/0.

Offensive snaps: 332.

About Williams: Second on team in rushing attempts (117), yards (568) and touchdowns (two). … Ranks 19th in NFL in rushing yards and 25th in carries. … Thirteen explosive rushes (gain of at least 12 yards), including carries of 20 (two), 30 (two), 31 and 49 yards. … One 100-yard game (111 in win at Dallas).

Quinn Meinerz

Round (pick): Third (98th).

Position: Right guard.

Games/starts: 9/3.

Offensive snaps: 247.

About Meinerz: Started last two games at right guard since Graham Glasgow’s season-ending broken leg, getting booked for one pass-rush disruption and two “bad” run plays. … From Division III to NFL is a big leap and Meinerz has answered challenge, showing power and athleticism.

Baron Browning

Round (pick): Third (105th).

Position: Inside linebacker.

Games/starts: 9/4.

Defensive snaps: 221.

About Browning: Limited by leg injury in training camp, used early part of regular season to play catch-up (four snaps in first seven games). … All 22 of his tackles have been in the last four games.

Caden Sterns

Round (pick): Fifth (152nd).

Position: Safety.

Games/starts: 11/1.

Defensive snaps: 194.

About Sterns: Thirteen tackles, two interceptions and two sacks. … Played primarily dime (sixth defensive back) role, but started for injured Kareem Jackson against Chargers (one pass break-up). … Interceptions against Jets and Cowboys, two sacks against Baltimore.

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Long COVID study: Boston researchers recruiting long haulers who are having trouble concentrating, experiencing strong fatigue



Long COVID study: Boston researchers recruiting long haulers who are having trouble concentrating, experiencing strong fatigue

As tens of millions of Americans continue to battle long-term coronavirus symptoms, Boston researchers are hoping to crack the mystery of Long COVID and what’s sparking the debilitating condition for so many people.

Hub scientists are recruiting adults who had acute COVID-19 more than two months ago and are still experiencing symptoms, such as trouble concentrating and abnormally strong fatigue.

The brain scan study will be done in-person in Charlestown, so the long hauler study participants must be in the Boston area.

“We’re looking to try to understand what’s happening,” neuroscience researcher Michael VanElzakker, with the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital, told the Herald on Thursday.

Since VanElzakker put out the call for long haulers on social media, people have been “really appreciative,” he said.

“Those who are dealing with this condition are really worried, and they’re hoping they get studied,” he added.

Nearly 20 million Americans are suffering from Long COVID, which is scientifically termed Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC).

That 20 million American estimate is from the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Of those 20 million people, about 387,000 long haulers live in Massachusetts.

VanElzakker had been studying chronic fatigue syndrome before the pandemic. Many people with that disease initially have some type of viral infection.

“Studying that, I knew what was coming when COVID hit,” VanElzakker said. “There would be a subset of people who wouldn’t get better.”

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Boston College’s $100M Pine Manor Institute for Student Success to offer free courses



Boston College’s $100M Pine Manor Institute for Student Success to offer free courses

Boston College will introduce a free summer enrichment program in June for middle and high schoolers, and an associate’s-degree-granting two-year residential college in 2024, both to broaden opportunities for underrepresented, first-generation students, the university said Thursday.

Both initiatives are part of the university’s $100 million Pine Manor Institute for Student Success, established in 2020 when Boston College and Pine Manor College signed an integration agreement that included a $50 million commitment from Boston College, which has grown to $100 million through investment returns and an anonymous pledge of $25 million.

Through the Pine Minor Institute for Students Success, the residential summer enrichment program for middle and high school students, called the Academy, will be hosted on the BC campus.

“Boston College realizes there are students who need a college degree or an opportunity to do better in middle or high school,” said University President William P. Leahy. “The goal is to match need with opportunity … so that their world’s been widened, their horizon’s been broadened.”

Beginning with a group of 40 middle school students, the Academy will offer summer courses in English, math and science for students nominated by principals, teachers, counselors or religious and community leaders.

During the school year, the students will receive academic support from trained BC success coaches and mentoring from BC undergraduate and graduate students to help the Academy students navigate the journey from middle school to college.

As they advance through high school, students also will receive training in public speaking, time management, SAT/ACT prep, and the college application process. In the summer before their senior year, they will take a college-credit course to help enhance their college readiness.

The two-year college division of Boston College will be called Messina College, named after the first Jesuit school founded in Sicily in 1548. It will offer an associate’s degree program for 100 students annually, beginning in the 2024-25 school year, with the goal of preparing students for continued studies in a bachelor’s degree program or for a professional career.

Messina College will be located on the former Pine Manor College campus in Brookline, and its students will have full access to Boston College’s campus programs and facilities. Successful students will be eligible to apply to transfer to Boston College to complete a bachelor’s degree.

The final component of the Pine Manor Institute will be an ongoing outreach initiative that will provide support for graduates of the Academy and Messina College throughout the completion of their academic studies and into their professional careers.

Together, these offerings aim to expand upon Boston College’s success in educating under-resourced, first-generation students, while continuing Pine Manor College’s legacy of outreach to underserved communities.






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Netflix stock plunges as subscriber growth worries deepen



Netflix stock plunges as subscriber growth worries deepen

Netflix delivered its latest quarter of disappointing subscriber growth during the final three months of last year, a trend that management foresees continuing into the new year as tougher competition is undercutting the video streaming leader.

The Los Gatos, Calif., company added 8.3 million worldwide subscribers during the October-December period, about 200,000 fewer than management had forecast. Besides releasing its fourth-quarter results Thursday, Netflix also projected an increase of 2.5 million subscribers during the first three months of this year, well below analysts’ expectations for a gain of 4 million, according to FactSet Research.

The disappointing news caused Netflix’s stock price to plunge by about 20% in extended trading after the numbers came out, deepening a steep decline during the past two months.

It capped a challenging year for Netflix after it reveled in eye-popping gains during the pandemic lockdowns of 2020 that drove homebound people to its service.

Netflix picked up 18.2 million worldwide subscribers during 2021, its slowest pace of annual growth in five years. It came after Netflix gained more than 36 million subscribers during 2020. The service now boasts nearly 222 million worldwide subscribers worldwide, more than any other video streaming leader.

But other services backed by deep-pocketed rivals such as Walt Disney Co. and Apple have been making inroads in recent years, and a bevy of other networks also are wading into video streaming in an attempt to grab eyeballs and a piece of household budgets. The escalating competition is one reason Netflix decided to expand into video games last year.

“The 2022 backdrop for Netflix seems to have been set with a theme of competition abound,” said Third Bridge analyst Joe McCormack.

While acknowledging the competition is having a “marginal” effects on its growth in its quarterly shareholder letter, Netflix emphasized its service is still thriving in every country where it’s available.

In a Thursday conference call, Netflix executives also said uncertainty caused by the ebb and flow of the pandemic during the past year has made it more difficult to gauge future growth.

COVID “has created a lot of bumpiness,” co-CEO Ted Sarandos said. The company’s other co-CEO, Reed Hastings, also expressed some frustration before adding, “For now, we’re just like staying calm and trying to figure (it) out.”

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