Karageorge's brain to be examined

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A neuropathologist will look for signs of traumatic brain injury in an Ohio State athlete who was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head and had a reported history of concussions, a coroner said Monday.

The examination, not normally part of the autopsy process, is being done on Kosta Karageorge because of that history, said Dr. Anahi Ortiz, the Franklin County coroner.

The pathologist "may or may not be able to determine any sort of abnormality or defect from traumatic brain injury,'' Ortiz said.

Preliminary results from a Monday morning autopsy confirmed that Karageorge died of a gunshot wound, Ortiz said. She hasn't yet definitively ruled it a suicide.

Columbus police have said Karageorge died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. A handgun was found in a trash bin with him, police spokesman Sgt. Rich Weiner said.

Coach Urban Meyer wouldn't address the situation in his weekly news conference Monday, but Ohio State issued a statement, saying: "We know that many of you are concerned, as we are, about the tragic news that we received yesterday about the death of one of our student-athletes, Kosta Karageorge.

"It is very early in the process of determining the cause of death, and the Columbus division of police is still investigating. We are unable to discuss this situation in detail at this time. The investigation continues. We are also not able to comment on student-athletes' medical treatments."

Kosta Karageorge's mother, Susan Karageorge, told police in a missing person's report that her son had had several concussionsand a few spells of being extremely confused.

Karageorge, 22, was a Buckeyes wrestler for three years, and the senior defensive tackle joined the football team as a walk-on this season. Although earlier reports said Karageorge played in one game, Ohio State spokesman Jerry Emig corrected that Monday, saying Karageorge had not played in any games.

A woman and her son looking for items in a trash bin Sunday found the body of Karageorge, who disappeared four days earlier after sending his parents a text message.

The message said: "I am sorry if I am an embarrassment but these concussions have my head all f----- up.''

Police reports released Monday indicated a man looking for food in the trash bin earlier in the day may have found Karageorge's body, but he didn't report it and instead told other people who called police.

After Karageorge went missing, the football team's physician, Dr. Jim Borchers, said he could not comment on the medical care of student athletes. But, he said, "We are confident in our medical procedures and policies to return athletes to participation following injury or illness.''

Wrestling coach Tom Ryan told The Columbus Dispatch that Karageorge did not have documented concussions as a wrestler.

Brain injuries seem to increase people's risk for depression, though most studies on that have been with people who had severe head injuries, said Dr. Tom McAllister, chairman of psychiatry at Indiana University, who has studied concussions in college athletes.

If the person had depression or an anxiety disorder in the past, "it often is the case that the concussion seems to exacerbate it,'' he said. "These injuries don't occur in a vacuum. People bring their own past history ... into the injury.''

Police found Karageorge's body within a couple hundred yards of his home and about a half-block from High Street, the main artery of the campus. Karageorge had last been seen at his Columbus apartment, when roommates said he left for a walk.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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