As a mother, when your child is born, you never imagine his life ending with a death by suicide while you sit helpless on the other end of the phone line. This is what happened to Karen Kinzle Zegel when she received a phone call from her son, Patrick, 32 years old, as he calmly described his decision to hang himself by his dog’s leash.
Patrick displayed many of the signs and symptoms of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) during his life, and the diagnosis was confirmed in an examination of his brain after his death. Common symptoms of CTE include depression, short-term memory loss, and impulsivity. CTE is caused by repeated blows to the head, and, in the position of running back, Patrick experienced many hits. Patrick played football from the age of 10 through his college years with hopes of impressing his football coach father. He became a father himself to his first son, Peyton, in 2010.
Karen has taken this tragic loss of her son and has somehow found the strength to educate people about the dangers of football and CTE. Learn more about her efforts at StopCTE.org.