In Your Words: Tell Us Your Stories About Concussions

The tragic story of Austin Trenum, who killed himself after suffering a concussion, has resonated with many of you—and we want you to share your experiences.

Austin Trenum committed suicide after suffering a concussion in a football game. His story is not the only one with a tragic ending. Photograph courtesy of Shutterstock.

The Washingtonian’s August feature “Did Football Kill Austin Trenum?” tells the heartbreaking story of a 17-year-old high school football player who committed suicide soon after suffering a concussion. Thousands of you have come to our site in the past few days to read the article, and after reading your comments, it’s clear Austin’s tragic story has resonated with many of you. Author Patrick Hruby, in fact, told The Washingtonian that after reporting the article, his views on kids and sports completely changed: “I don’t think children under age 14 should be playing tackle football. Period,” he says.

But while Austin’s story hits close to home, his is not the only one. The following is a list of other stories about concussions circulating on the web, from a teenage girl who suffered 11 concussions to NFL veterans who say of making and taking big hits on the field, “You only live once.”

We want to continue hearing about your thoughts on concussions. After reading the article, have your views changed about football, soccer, lacrosse, or any other sport with increased risks of head trauma? Share your stories in the comments section.

“Did Football Kill Austin Trenum?” The Washingtonian
When a well-adjusted Virginia teen suddenly killed himself, his parents looked for warning signs they had missed. But Austin had no dark secret, no teen angst. There was nothing—except for a concussion he had sustained during a football game a few days earlier.

“Concussion Crisis Growing in Girls’ Soccer,” the Rock Center With Brian Williams
Studies show girls report almost twice as many concussions as boys in sports—especially soccer.

“Teen who sustained 11 concussions looks back on misunderstood injuries,” the Star-Ledger
Rising basketball star Niki Popyer suffered 11 concussions in four years—and may never play the game again.

“Inside the Helmet,” GQ
“Our sport was built around big hits,” Seattle Seahawks safety Lawyer Milloy tells GQ. “Now you can get fined $50,000 for a play you’ve been taught to make your whole career? Come on!”

“Headed for Trouble,” Boston magazine
“Boston University scientists are renowned for their research on concussions suffered by NFL veterans. Now their studies are raising alarming questions about the true dangers of high school football.”

“Life Changed by Concussions” (Video), ESPN
High school athlete Zack Lystedt suffered a concussion during a football game—and continued playing. His speech is now impaired, and he uses a wheelchair and a cane. He is the reason for the Lystedt Law, which has changed the way coaches, parents, and athletes in the US address concussions.

“Ray Easterling’s Suicide Won’t End His Widow’s Fight,” New York Times
“Staring into space wistfully, Mary Ann said, ‘I didn’t feel like I was with the person that I married.’”

“NFL, Military Partner to Reduce Concussions,” ABC News
Concussions are not unique to athletes. The NFL and US military have partnered to address the stigma associated with head injuries.

“Children’s National Doc Launches Concussion-Detecting App,” Well+Being
Got a concussion? There’s an app for that.

“10 Facts You Should Know About Concussions,” Well+Being
Dr. Richard Glenn Ellenbogen, who led efforts to revamp the NFL’s policy on head injuries, explains the lesser-known facts about concussions.