Columbus, Ohio, police said they have found the body of Ohio State University football player Kosta Karageorge who had been missing since Wednesday after complaining of problems he blamed on concussions he received while playing for the Buckeyes. Investigators believe that the 22-year-old defensive lineman died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after climbing into a dumpster near his apartment.
According to the Associated Press, Mr. Karageorge’s mother said her son sent a text message around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday that said, “Sorry if I am an embarrassment, but these concussions have my head all [expletive] up.” She also said her son, a fifth-year senior, had been complaining of confusion because of his football concussions.
Police said Mr. Karageorge’s roommates last saw him at the Columbus apartment they shared. They told police that appeared upset as he left to go for a walk Wednesday around 2 a.m. dressed in black clothes, a black hat, and black boots.
The football player’s parents filed a missing-person report Wednesday evening after he failed to return from his walk.
“We’re very concerned that he’s not himself and that he maybe doesn’t know what’s going on,” his sister Sophia Karageorge told the Columbus Dispatch.
Ms. Karageorge told the Dispatch that that her brother had a history of sports-related concussions at Ohio State, where he also wrestled before joining the football team as a walk-on.
There has been an increase in awareness of the link between sports-related concussions and traumatic brain injury (TBI) in recent years following a number of lawsuits including prominent litigation involving the National Football League (NFL). Repeated concussion has been linked to the development of TBI, which is difficult to diagnose but blamed for such “invisible symptoms” as depression. confusion, memory loss and long-term brain injury.
“Every time he’s had a concussion, he’s been evaluated and listened to his trainers. He’s been properly taken care of by OSU the entire time he’s been an athlete for them,” she told the Dispatch. “But … his repercussions from them have been long-term or delayed later after the fact.”
Searchers spent the holiday weekend looking for Mr. Karageorge before discovering his body and a handgun in a dumpster in the University District.
On Sunday night, the Ohio State University Department of Athletics released a statement after learning of Mr. Karageorge’s death:
“The Ohio State University Department of Athletics was shocked and saddened to learn today of the death of student-athlete Kosta Karageorge, a senior from Columbus. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Karageorge family, and those who knew him, during this most difficult time.”