Ohio State Football Player's Death Draws Attention To Head Injuries

Dec 1, 2014
Originally published on December 1, 2014 6:28 pm
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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Students and administrators at Ohio State University are trying to understand what led to the death of football player Kosta Karageorge. He was reported missing last week, and yesterday, his body was found in a dumpster just off campus. Before that discovery, teammates, friends and family members had posted fliers around the city of Columbus. His image flashed across the Jumbotron as the Buckeyes took on Michigan without him. As NPR's Laura Sullivan reports, police are investigating the death as a suicide.

LAURA SULLIVAN, BYLINE: Late yesterday, Columbus police sergeant Rich Weiner held a press conference near the trash container where a woman and her son stumbled upon Kosta Karageorge.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

RICH WEINER: We received a call from somebody stating they found a body in the dumpster at this location.

SULLIVAN: But that's not all they found. Police say they recovered a handgun from the dumpster, as well.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

WEINER: Preliminary investigation is showing that he died from what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

SULLIVAN: Weiner said both missing persons and homicide were investigating the death, but it appears Karageorge took his own life. The dumpster was just several hundred yards from his apartment, and he was last seen walking out at 2 a.m. on Wednesday morning, when he told his roommates he needed some air. According to the missing persons report, the AP reported he had also just texted his mother. Using an expletive, he wrote, I am sorry if I'm an embarrassment, but these concussions have my head all messed up. Karageorge's sister told the Columbus Dispatch that he had a history of head injuries and concussions. Ohio State's coach Urban Meyer deflected questions at a press conference today about any possible head trauma, asking staff off-mic whether he should talk about that.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

URBAN MEYER: I was told not to address anything, right? I can say this. I know that this is the best group of medical people I've ever been around.

SULLIVAN: Karageorge was a Buckeyes wrestler for three years before walking onto the football team this year as a senior defensive tackle. Meyer says the team was taking Karageorge's death hard.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

MEYER: To overcome the incredible tragedy that happened last night - this is real challenge. We're going to watch it very closely. I can just to you this - extremely close team that does a lot of things together and cares about each other.

SULLIVAN: Buckeye football players described him as a strong, smart, nice guy, with a girlfriend and close family. They say he was looking forward to Saturday's game. Police say they do not know yet how long Karageorge's body was in the dumpster. The county coroner told reporters Monday that an autopsy will include a special examination for possible traumatic brain injury. Laura Sullivan, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.