Earlier this month, tragedy struck Columbus, Ohio, as Ohio State University football player Kosta Karageorge apparently committed suicide. He was missing for four days, family and friends searching for him everywhere, when Karageorge’s body was discovered in trash bin by a homeless man who was searching for food. A handgun was found near his body.
Karageorge died of a gunshot wound. Before he disappeared, he sent a text message to his parents that stated “I am sorry if I am an embarrassment but these concussions have my head all f—– up.”
The family reports that Karageorge had a history of concussions. He had been a college level wrestler for three years as well as playing football for Ohio State as a defensive tackle.
Now, Ohio State’s football and wrestling programs are dismissing the seriousness of any brain injuries that Kosta Karageorge may have suffered while playing college sports because he wasn’t on their starting football line-up and there’s no documentation of concussions during any Ohio State wrestling events. Medical experts are still evaluating the case.
Depression Comes With Traumatic Brain Injuries
The reality is that people that suffer blows to their head and suffer a brain injury are prone to be victims of depression as a result of their injuries.
Teenagers, in particular, are at higher risk for suicide after suffering a concussion or brain injury according to a recent study from the University of Toronto. According to the Canadian study, young adults are around 300% more likely to try suicide than those who have not suffered a blow to the head.
Student Athletes Need Better Protection From Brain Injuries and Their Aftermath
Concussions happen to athletes that play football at any level — from high school to professional league competition. The long-term physiological impact of these brain injuries, long dismissed as minor injuries by school officials, are becoming very apparent as more and more victims are coming forward to admit they are suffering permanent damage from playing ball. Research is also confirming the connection between head injuries and suicidal tendencies.
The National Football League class action lawsuit brought by famous players have helped shed light on the reality that even a minor concussion can cause long-term, permanent harm to the athlete who has suffered a hit to the head, regardless of the protection of a helmet.
Now, let us hope that the passing of Ohio State’s Kosta Karageorge is not in vain and that his passing serves to educate parents of the reality that serious depression and the risk of suicide is a real threat to victims of brain injury and concussion. Psychological protections need to be in place for any athlete who has suffered a head injury as the result of playing sports, from children playing at their local school to college-level players and professional athletes.