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Helping Families with Autism; U.S. Soccer Team to Play Portugal Sunday; Use of Synthetic Pot in the NFL

Aired June 20, 2014 - 08:30   ET



MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Here we go with the five things you need to know for your new day.

At number one, ISIS has gotten its hands on toxic weapons from the Saddam Hussein era. President Obama says he is now sending as many as 300 military advisers to Iraq to fight militants.

The White House preparing to announce plans to extend a wide range of marriage benefits to same-sex couples. Most federal agencies will have to treat married couples the same regardless of what state they're in. We should point out, Kate Bolduan is interviewing the president today. Look for that tonight on CNN. We'll have extensive coverage right here on NEW DAY Monday morning.

General Motors is expanding a compensation plan stemming from its faulty ignition switches. The automaker has only linked 13 deaths to the problem, however expects to pay others who suffered as a consequence.

Vice President Joe Biden visiting Guatemala today. He'll talk to government officials there about ongoing immigration issues and trying to stop parents from sending their children to the U.S. without documentation.

Team USA gearing up for its big World Cup match Sunday versus Portugal. Heat and humidity in the area around the stadium and in the stadium. Likely a major challenge for both teams playing in the heart of the Amazon Rain Forest.

We always update those five things to know, so be sure to visit for the very latest.

Kate and Chris, over to you.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Mic. It's big news, Kate Baldwin going to interview the president.

KATE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. A lot of questions, a lot of topics to talk about.

CUOMO: Watch out, President Obama, here comes the new mama.

BOLDUAN: That's right. We're going to talk about family, working family issues and, of course, we're got to talk about the situation in Iraq as well.

CUOMO: Looking forward to it. Looking forward to it.

So you know what we have now? This week's CNN Hero. For many, a night at the ballpark, a family tradition. But for those on the autism spectrum, the sights and sounds of a baseball game can be overwhelming. That's where Wendy Ross comes in. Check this out.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Going (ph) to new experiences with my son is a gamble. You are on edge all the time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I stay in sometimes because it's easier for him to be around all of his toys. I'm afraid.

WENDY ROSS, CNN HERO: As a developmental pediatrician, I do a lot of diagnosing of autism. When I heard that my families were afraid to go out, I felt like I needed to find a way to help them.

Everyday experiences like going to a baseball game can be a challenge for kids with autism. There's a lot of unexpected sensory things happening.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good, how are you?

ROSS: I work with the Phillies to train all 3,000 people that work at the ballpark. We prepare the families with a storybook of experiences that may happen at the park. And then we provide supportive game experiences, sort of like a safety net. If you start taking steps outside of your door, your world gets bigger and bigger.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's having fun. One success means more success.

ROSS: It's about more than a game. It's about opportunity.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hopefully there will be zoos in our future and aquariums. The world is our oyster.


CUOMO: Wow. Good for her. We love the CNN Heroes. And, remember, you can go to and nominate someone you think deserves to be recognized.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, final preparations underway for Team USA ahead of its crucial match Sunday against Portugal. The Portuguese may be without their star player. The U.S. definitely down a top player. We're going to preview the big game coming up.


BOLDUAN: There you go. Got to settle in. It's a good way to start your Friday with this kind of (INAUDIBLE).


BOLDUAN: A big weekend ahead for Team USA. They will face Portugal in the World Cup on Sunday. This, of course, follows a huge win against Ghana this Monday. So, will they keep the momentum going? We're joined right now by Mike Petke, the head coach of the major league soccer's New York Red Bulls. He's also played for the U.S. national team and for the Red Bulls himself.



BOLDUAN: Of course. So much to get from you. But first off, I've got to -- since you're a coach, I've got to ask you about the coach. A bit of a controversy surrounding the coach. He's saying - I mean some would say on the surface it seems like pretty crazy things for a coach to say. The World -- winning the World Cup is just not realistic. We cannot win this World Cup because we're not at that level yet. Is that strategy? Would you tell - would you say that publicly? Would you say that to your team?

PETKE: Well, definitely some strategy. Jurgen Klinsmann is a very smart guy. He's been a successful coach. He wouldn't be saying things like that if there wasn't something behind it. Whether that means that he was talking with them behind (ph) to disregard everything I say or whether that - he really wanted to get a point across to his players. But at the end of the day, he's a winner and he believes that they can win.

BOLDUAN: And it turned out well with the first Ghana game, so I guess that's one strategy, right?


CUOMO: What do you think about this team? I mean we're super, you know, probably hyper excited about it here because we're not used to them being in the dialogue this way.


CUOMO: Where does this team stack up when you look at other U.S. teams? Is this the best we've had?

PETKE: I think it's certainly up there with the most deepest that we've had for sure. The talent has risen so much in the U.S. over the last 10, 15 years that it's just getting better and better. And with the win on Monday, it shows that the team that's knocked them out the last two World Cups, that they stepped up and they reversed it.

PEREIRA: And for newcomers to World Cup soccer, we were talking a little bit before. We - you -


PEREIRA: We went on air here about the fact that, you know, these guys play all over the world.


PEREIRA: Our team, all over the world. They get a few weeks together where -


PEREIRA: Before the World Cup match where they really have to gel. And it would appear that they're gelling despite some of the injuries they're facing.

PETKE: No, absolutely. I mean it's a tough situation for every national team. You know, they play different places around the world, like you said, and they come together right before a major tournament. But this is a team that has, for the last four years, been building up to this. And it's an American attitude. Americans want to win. It's a very -- a lot of good camaraderie in there and it showed, like you said, in the Ghana game.

BOLDUAN: What do you - what do you -- what of the injuries, though?


BOLDUAN: A couple injuries in the first game. You know, we know Cristiano Ronaldo, he's - he may - he's questionable, I guess we could say.

PETKE: Right.

BOLDUAN: Because they - what do you - what do you -- does this always happen in the World Cup or is this special because they're dealing with certain conditions, do you think?

PETKE: Well, I think that, you know, with the grinding and grueling seasons that they play in, in the domestic leagues --

BOLDUAN: That they've already played, right?

PETKE: Yes. They've come through and now to come to a place like Brazil, with the humidity, the heat, the travel, I think it was inevitable that certain things like this were going to happen. But I'm hoping that, especially with the U.S., that the injuries aren't as bad as they seem and they can pull through.

PEREIRA: And, look, also -

CUOMO: Well, grabbing your hammy is one thing. You know, when you grab your hammy.


CUOMO: You guys do have a little bit of a reputation for being floppers though, you know, so -

PEREIRA: What, the soccer players?

BOLDUAN: Dramatic.

PETKE: Have you watched the NBA lately?


CUOMO: But they passed a rule for it because of that.

PEREIRA: Good point. Counter point (INAUDIBLE).

CUOMO: But, you know, it makes you think, Ronaldo's got ice on his knee. You know what's interesting, this guy, who I know very well, he's into physical therapy.

PEREIRA: Uh-huh.

CUOMO: He said if Ronaldo's knee was really hurt, you wouldn't see ice on it. Ice is old technology. If you had a real injury, they're using heat and mobility now. So if you're seeing ice, it's just for discomfort. He's probably fine. What do you make of that, coach?

BOLDUAN: Is there that much strategy in that (ph)?

PETKE: (INAUDIBLE). I mean Ronaldo is a self-proclaimed prettiest man in the world.

CUOMO: He is good looking.

PETKE: So, of course he's going to be putting ice on his knee. He wants the cameras on him.


PETKE: Do I think that he's going to be sitting out this game? I would - I would be against it. He's definitely not going to sit out (ph).

BOLDUAN: So interesting.

PEREIRA: How about that? They're playing a juggernaut Sunday, Portugal. They're playing in a country that where soccer is king.


PEREIRA: But it seems like the American team sort of just put ear plugs in and say, we're here to do our thing?

PETKE: Absolutely. I mean it's a tale of two teams right now with Portugal and the U.S. The U.S.' dramatic, thrilling victory over Ghana and Portugal got absolutely smashed by Germany and lost three key players.

BOLDUAN: Do they have the same kind of play (ph)?

CUOMO: Destroyed.

BOLDUAN: Were they different play between the U.S. and Portugal?

PETKE: (INAUDIBLE) different play for sure.


PETKE: Absolutely. I mean you look at Portugal. Very comfortable with the ball. Interacting in the mid-field. A different formation. And they have the world player of the year right now. So the U.S. has a lot to contend with. However, Portugal is the one who has the pressure under them.

CUOMO: Sure.

PETKE: For sure.

CUOMO: Tremendous pressure. Crushing pressure on them.


PEREIRA: I want to watch the game with him. He can give us all the inside of what's happening on the field all the time.

BOLDUAN: Very good. Mike -

PETKE: A couple of cocktails and I'm just enjoying the game.

PEREIRA: Oh, well, there - OK, I'm just a little -

BOLDUAN: Sounds like a way to watch it.

PEREIRA: Want to go?

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much.

CUOMO: Host (ph).

PETKE: Thank you very much for having me.

CUOMO: Thanks for letting us inside, because, you know, we're still getting our bearings here on what to look for and what not. So, can't wait for Sunday.

Coming up on NEW DAY, a hidden danger in the NFL. Did you know about this? The use of synthetic pot to manage pain. We're going to take a look at this and it's a bigger deal than you may think.


PEREIRA: Friday. Welcome back to NEW DAY. We're back with our new series for the summer. Each week, Carlos Watson, the co-founder and editor for Ozy, a new online magazine, joins us to take a look at what's new and what's next. Carlos, good to see you.

CARLOS WATSON, CO-FOUNDER, OZY: Good to be back in New York.

PEREIRA: Few things to talk about today. Why don't we launch off with synthetic marijuana? We talked a little bit about this. Apparently, an interesting piece on Ozy about the fact that NFL players are turning to it to treat for pain.

WATSON: Yes, you've seen a couple of big arrests recently. Kellen Winslow, the New York Jets -- one time New York Jets tight end. Marcell Dareus, Buffalo Bills. I don't know if there's a New York connection here that we need to spend some time talking about, but they're not the only one.

Unfortunately a lot of kids -- the most recent drug survey says next to marijuana and more so than cocaine and other things this fake marijuana which they sometimes call spice, sometimes call K2 is a thing a lot of folks are using.

BOLDUAN: The culture is shifting on public opinion on marijuana use obviously. Look at states even approving it for recreational use. But there are real concerns about how dangerous synthetic marijuana is.

WATSON: Right. In some cases, they say it's five, ten, 100 times more powerful. But the interesting story and I was talking to one former NFL player yesterday. He says the real story isn't the drug itself -- it's pain management. He says when your knees are shot --

BOLDUAN: They can't find anything else?

WATSON: Well, remember that if you go into the testing program in the NFL, you're not just tested once but you're tested sometimes three, four times a week. And so people still are looking for some relief and in some cases are finding something that the NFL is not testing for which is the so-called fake marijuana.

CUOMO: There are also a lot of guys in the league that smoke weed. And so now there's going to be a cross over to different delivery devices. Part of the complicating factor with weed -- what weed is OK, what weed isn't OK. What is medicinal? So this is certainly an iteration of this ongoing dialogue.

WATSON: Well the crazy thing about this is remember you've seen some really ugly overdoses because it's not consistent. The different chemicals that are used -- many or most of the chemicals according to the DEA are coming from China. People often don't know what's in it. You see 120 people unfortunately dying in Dallas in the last few years -- an example.

PEREIRA: That's the concern -- that's the importance of checking on that article on

Can we do another topic? I have friends that are obsessed with these Fitbits. Interesting piece from Ozy about --

BOLDUAN: People are letting their Fitbits control their lives.

PEREIRA: It's almost like a remote control for you.

CUOMO: What is a Fitbit?


PEREIRA: You don't know what a Fitbit is?

CUOMO: What's a Fitbit? Tell me.

PEREIRA: You know what a Fitbit is.


WATSON: She's doing the right thing. It's an activity tracker. Whether you buy Fitbit itself or you probably heard Jawbone has something called -- have you seen the Nike fuel bands?

CUOMO: Oh that's what it is.

PEREIRA: No, they're different. They're a little bit different but same kind of idea.

BOLDUAN: Concept -- tracking your steps, tracking your sleep, tracking your activity, your calories --

WATSON: Hopefully getting you more healthy but guess what a study out of Iowa State says --

BOLDUAN: They're wrong.

WATSON: It says the numbers are sometimes a little bit off.

BOLDUAN: A little bit? A lot of bit.

WATSON: You know it says they're 80 percent - 85 percent -- right but they're saying sometimes -- they're saying a couple of our friends here at the table may be getting extra credit for steps they didn't take.

PEREIRA: Wait -- what us?

WATSON: If you guys are using Fitbit you guys --

BOLDUAN: This is how you get your extra exercise. You have to walk like this. Do the graphic of the error rate. It's pretty fascinating. The basis band is the biggest error rate. 23.5 percent error rate.

CUOMO: Still better than nothing.

BOLDUAN: That's a good point.

PEREIRA: That is a good point.

WATSON: Now the folks at basis band say that the folks at Iowa State were using an old product.


WATSON: But nevertheless, 10 percent, 12 percent, 15 percent wrong means you have to do a little couple of extra steps every day. You can't count on it.

BOLDUAN: What if it's wrong in the direction that helps me.


PEREIRA: And then there's the other aspect of it. When we just kind of mentally keep track, imagine how our numbers are off. Do you know what I mean? Oh, I didn't really have three pounds of French fries. Like when we try the calorie counted, unless you're writing it down and being true, we tend to probably nudge, nudge, fudge the numbers.

WATSON: Do you know by how much?

PEREIRA: How much?

WATSON: Double sometimes triple. We over estimate, when we try and guess how much bigger this activity we're doing. We're not just off by 10 percent. Some of us are a little proud of ourselves.

CUOMO: But don't use it as an excuse to not use them, though, because anything is better than nothing. We've got a big problem with this in our society.

BOLDUAN: It is fun. There's competition between people, how many steps you've taken. I like it. I mean I think it's good.

WATSON: You know the one cool thing is they're getting smarter. Sometimes they'll tell you things, for example, when you sleep seven hours, we find out that your amount of exercise goes up by 50 percent. Or we find out that you do your exercise middle of the day, you burn twice as many calories.

So that's one of the interesting things about these things gathering some of the data.

PEREIRA: Just a teaser for you, friends. -- you can delve into it even more while you're doing your steps.


WATSON: You know what, I do not have Fitbit yet, but I am -- you know what I do? I ride that stationary bike way too much.


PEREIRA: All right. All right. All right.

WATSON: 12 years in. Haven't stopped, still going.

BOLDUAN: Nothing wrong with that. PEREIRA: All right. He's a warrior.

Carlos Watson, always a delight.

CUOMO: Under the table, Carlos' feet are like this under the table. He keeps his (inaudible) on TV.

WATSON: You know what, I'm tweeting underneath here. Chris is giving me some tweeting advice. I'm tweeting with my toes.

CUOMO: Coming up, an Iraq war vet just became a hero again. Here's a hint -- has to do with Buster there. Find out what happens here. It is indeed the TGIF good stuff.


PEREIRA: Good stuff. Good call.

CUOMO: It's worth it. It's the right feel. Here's "The Good Stuff". An Iraq war vet worked to saved our freedom -- right. Now he just a best friend. Army vet Aaron Schneider. He watched as a beagle got hit on a three-lane interstate. The driver didn't stop, but Schneider did.


AARON SCHNEIDER, ARMY VET: I could see an animal get hit. I'm going to do everything I can. I mean Save -- saving a life is saving a life -- doesn't matter if it's an animal or a human.


CUOMO: He actually had to do a lot. He had to run through interstate traffic. He then stayed with the badly injured dog for three hours. He actually coaxed him over to him because Buster is obviously totally freaked out. He then made a makeshift stretcher for the dog. All of this, he says, was part of his army training kicking in.

Veterinarians say if it weren't for Schneider, for sure, the dog would have died. Now, he's going to be OK. That's not even the best part. Take a listen.


SCHNEIDER: Look at this Buster. You're outside. You made it.


PEREIRA: Look at him. He looks great.

CUOMO: Somehow, the poor little guy makes his way onto an interstate. Who's responsible? We don't know. A family did not come forward to claim the dog. What does Schneider do, he adopts him. Now that's why his name is Buster as in he got bustered up but he's OK now.

He took him home. There he is. Aaron Schneider, you are "The Good Stuff". You did something that was dangerous but well-intentioned. And now you got a puppy out of it.

BOLDUAN: Very good, very good.

PEREIRA: I love it. So great.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You can't (inaudible) a rescue dog.

CUOMO: Absolutely, a rescued dog to be sure.

A lot of news this morning. Let's get you to Poppy Harlow -- in for Carol Costello. TGIF my friend, Poppy.