How Sports Destroyed a Young Man's Brain

'We raised our son to be a strong man...maybe that was his downfall'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 23, 2016 5:15 PM CDT
Updated Jun 26, 2016 12:40 PM CDT
How Sports Destroyed a Young Man's Brain
Kosta Karageorge   (AP Photo/Ohio State University, Jay LaPrete, File)

The New York Times has a heartbreaking look at Ohio State wrestler and football player Kosta Karageorge, who killed himself in 2014 after a lifetime of sports-induced anxiety and concussions. Karageorge lived his life to be "manly." He started playing contact sports at 10 and pushed himself to extremes to get bigger and stronger. By high-school he was losing patches of hair to stress-induced alopecia and showing signs of mental instability. Karageorge's wrestling coach once found him openly weeping while cleaning two guns on his weight bench; he was worried he wouldn't win the upcoming state championship. Karageorge halfheartedly denied he was going to harm himself had he not been interrupted.

By his senior year in college, Karageorge was awarding "man points" to his roommates while hiding concussion symptoms from his friends and coaches. But the lingering effects were mounting. He had to have his girlfriend dial his phone for him because the bright screen made him dizzy. He would cry for no reason and heard a buzzing noise in his head. He was moody and paranoid. The night he killed himself, Karageorge texted his mom: “my heads been so [expletive] latly from a these concussioms i really am sorry.” He texted his old wrestling coach: “man im breakin my head isnt right." He was 22. Postmortem analysis of Karageorge's brain showed signs of microhemorrhaging and low-level CTE. His parents believe he'd had 15 concussions, at least, starting in high school. “We raised our son to be a strong man, and maybe that was his downfall,” Karageorge's father George says. “He wasn’t complaining and crying." Read the full story here. (More concussions stories.)

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