"[Kosta Karageorge] learned to hide his concussion symptoms from his parents and his coaches, partly because the stakes were higher and also because he believed it was important to always do what he deemed most manly."
- Tim Rohan, New York Times
This piece by Tim Rohan of the New York Times detailing the upbringing and events leading up to the death of Kosta Karageorge back in November of 2014 is a must-read. Rohan details how Kosta’s father George and his brother Jim grew up, talking about how Jim cracked three football helmets in high school, and how the trainer of the team begged him to quit. He was brought up on having to play through injuries because it was the "manly" thing to do. Karageorge was obsessed with being great. He wanted to be the best at whatever he did, whether it was football or wrestling. He also took his weightlifting very seriously.
Karageorge was so fixated on being great, that he was absent from wrestling practice one day in high school, and he coach went to his house and found him alone in his basement cleaning two of his guns with tears running down his face. He told his coach, "I don’t know if I can win the state title." When his coach asked if he would harm himself, Karageorge said, "No. I don’t know. No."
Karageorge was set on never missing practice, games, or wrestling meets. He had to compete, and he felt that taking time off for injury, especially concussions, was not manly. He suffered numerous concussions over the course of his life, and a neurologist later found Stage 1 CTE in his brain. We all know the story of Karageorge, but the details from Rohan’s profile show the depth and lengths that Karageorge went through to stay active. It's been nearly two years, but his loss still stings in the Ohio State community.
"Tyson Gentry’s life changed forever on April 14, 2006. In the 10 years since, he has worked to change the lives of others."
- Patrick McHugh, Football Matters
Former Ohio State football player Tyson Gentry suffered an awful injury during an intrasquad scrimmage at the 'Shoe back in April of 2006. Gentry caught a pass over the middle, and broke his C-4 vertebra after being tackled by Kurt Coleman. Gentry wasn't able to move his extremities, and had a titanium rod implanted to stabilize his spine. For many people, it would be an injury to really destroy your morale, especially for an athlete that is used to being able to do things the average person can't. But Gentry took his injury, and has made the most out of it, and is now helping others.
Gentry told Patrick McHugh that the injury gave him perspective. "When I was doing in-patient rehab at Ohio State, there were individuals on my floor who had TBIs [traumatic brain injuries]. Seeing what they went through and how much more difficult their struggle appeared to be, it put things in perspective for me." He would go on to return to Ohio State and completed his undergraduate degree in 2009. He also met his future wife, and has created a non-profit for families of loved ones who suffered severe injuries like his. He told McHugh, "I always get a thrill whenever something positive comes from my injury. I feel like that's what life is all about: using whatever resources, skills or abilities you have to give back to others." If only everybody could view more things the way Tyson Gentry does.
"As far as [Nate] Ebner is concerned, the lessons and the practice he’s going through for the Rugby team can and will help him when he returns to the football field."
- Rich Hill, Pats Pulpit
Nate Ebner was on SiriusXM NFL radio discussing his pursuit of his Olympic dream playing rugby, and our friends at SB Nation's New England Patriots blog Pats Pulpit chronicled the discussion. Ebner has been a solid special teams player for the Patriots since they drafted him back in 2012, and they have understood his dream in playing rugby in the Olympics. Ebner also talks about how playing rugby has helped him fine-tune his skills on the NFL field.
As Rich Hill notes for Pats Pulpit, Ebner will have to regain his football weight after rugby ends. But Ebner described how the Patriots knew what they were getting, and were willing to accept all parts of Ebner and what he brings to the table. "I think they just knew who they had in me when I was first drafted. I was a rugby player in college, I had a long background in rugby in the United States underage program and I think they just understood that I was a rugby player and my desire to go play in the Olympics was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me." Ebner has taken that support and worked his tail off in both football and rugby, because he knows he probably wouldn't get the same support in most places. So here's hoping that Ebner sees his Olympic dream come true.
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