White House event with NCAA basketball champions disrupted when player faints

Participants assist a player who passed out during an event for the Louisiana State University Tigers Women's Basketball team to celebrate their 2022-2023 NCAA Championship season, hosted in the East Room at the White House in Washington, DC, USA 26 May 2023. EPA/SAMUEL CORUM / POOL (EPA/SAMUEL CORUM / POOL)
Participants assist a player who passed out during an event for the Louisiana State University Tigers Women's Basketball team to celebrate their 2022-2023 NCAA Championship season, hosted in the East Room at the White House in Washington, DC, USA 26 May 2023. EPA/SAMUEL CORUM / POOL (EPA/SAMUEL CORUM / POOL)
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Louisiana State University’s national champion women’s basketball team’s long-awaited visit to the White House was briefly disrupted when a player fainted as President Joe Biden was delivering remarks.

As Mr Biden was speaking, the disruption caused by the incident became evident enough that the White House live feed of the event cut from a shot of the podium where Mr Biden was speaking to a wider shot showing the riser next to him where the players were standing.

Several people were seen huddled over the stricken player, later identified as star forward Sa'Myah Smith, as Mr Biden was heard saying: “Folks, it’s ok,” and assuring attendees that Ms Smith was being attended to.

Ms Smith was quickly attended to by several uniformed military personnel, and LSU coach Kim Mulvey later said the 6’2 Dallas, Texas native was “fine” but “kind of right now embarassed”.

The White House has a full-service medical clinic onsite staffed by military personnel attached to the White House Medical Unit.

The LSU team’s visit, a traditional stop for collegiate athletic championship teams, came following a bit of controversy kicked up after First Lady Jill Biden suggested that both LSU, the winners of the NCAA “March Madness” tournament and runners-up from the University of Iowa, could both be attended because of the high quality of play at this year’s championship game.

The White House later retracted the remark and said only LSU would be invited, but some LSU players balked at the perceived slight before agreeing to attend.