Game changer: player’s tragic death highlights concussion problem
As you may have heard by now, on Sunday, November 30, 22-year-old Ohio State University football player Kosta Karageorge was found dead in a dumpster in Columbus, OH, as the result of what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Preceding his death, he sent his mother some troubling text messages, apologizing, and saying that his concussions had “messed up” his head.
Throughout his athletic career in football and wrestling, Karageorge suffered multiple concussions, the most recent of which occurred just weeks before his death. As we have observed earlier this year, it turns out that concussions are not uncommon for athletes at the professional, college, and high school levels. In fact, it has been described as an “epidemic.” It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of student athletes suffer from concussions each year, and many more likely go unreported and untreated. Often, the effects of these types of injuries can’t be healed with a cast. They are lasting, and they are serious.
The lawsuit that thousands of former professional football players have filed against the NFL has gotten national media attention. LeBron James publicly announced last month that he would not allow his children to play football because he believes it is too dangerous. The famous basketball player reportedly encourages his children to engage in all different athletic sports – except football and hockey.
What is the Media Saying?
News outlets have reported that suicide is more prevalent among college students than in other groups of the population. The Suicide Prevention Resource Center lists suicide as the second leading cause of death among college-age young adults. Head injuries and concussions significantly increase the likelihood of depression and violent or self destructive behaviors, as well as suicidal thoughts. It is troubling, then, that as our young people get older or go away to school, we talk ad nauseam about the dangers of drugs, drinking and driving, but not about the risks to their psychological health. It seems, especially among athletes, this is a subject that has gotten too little attention.
All of this information illuminated by recent events practically begs us to reevaluate the way we think about sports injuries and mental health. We must respond by educating and training athletes and coaches on how to prevent, identify, and respond to concussive injuries. We must treat unseen head injuries as seriously as we would any other sports injury, if not more so. And, we must acknowledge illnesses such as depression with openness rather than stigma.
To learn more about sports-related injuries and the law, click here. If your child has suffered a sports-related head injury, contact the personal injury lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys at 855-866-5529 for a free consultation.
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