Today's long read. Wherein it certainly seems like this young man committed suicide because of a concussion. I think we need to stop reading the word concussion as "bad headache" and start reading it as "possibly permanent brain damage."
Read the whole thing if you can stomach it. And then wonder why we let kids scar their brains up playing this awful game.
Did Football Kill Austin Trenum? | People & Politics | Washingtonian
Gil and Michelle had been in the Brentsville High bleachers on Friday night, chatting with friends, a full moon overhead. Neither of them saw the hit, but Gil spotted their son standing with his helmet off, touching his index finger to his nose at the direction of team trainer Richard Scavongelli. Just like last season. Good grief.
On the sideline, Austin was dazed, slurring his words. During the drive to the emergency room, he was alert enough to call Lauren, his girlfriend. By the time he was standing in line at Prince William Hospital, shirtless and sweaty, he seemed fine. He cracked jokes, flirted with the nurses who brought him a sandwich and a soda. He begged a doctor to let him leave, asked if Lauren could come back to the examination room.
A nurse asked if he wanted Tylenol.
“The last time you got a concussion, you got a headache,” Michelle said. “Are you sure you don’t want it?”
“Mom, I’m fine,” Austin said. “I don’t have a headache. Except for my normal football headache. I get them after every game.”
. . .
Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracked suicides, but they didn’t correlate those deaths with recent brain trauma, never mind athletic participation. Nor did anyone else.
Michelle befriended Dustin Fink, an Illinois-based athletic trainer who runs a concussion blog. Fink’s anecdotal evidence suggested that boys who played both linebacker and running back were at greater brain-trauma risk. Michelle made a spreadsheet, one she still maintains, logging every instance she could find of high-school and college football players killing themselves: name, age, position played. She saw a pattern. Linebacker. Running back. Linebacker. Running back. Just like Austin.
. . .