Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Did the head injuries and asthma push him over the edge?

I have always wondered whether Leif's head injuries played a part in his suicide. I don't know how many he had, but I do know at least two of them. The first was when he was a small boy in first grade. He was whacked in the head by a golf club swung by another boy. It knocked him flat.

The last time was his July 2007 motorcycle accident when he wasn't wearing a helmet and his head hit and scraped the pavement. That's the picture at left. He was lucky it wasn't a lot worse.

But that luck may have been only partial. We have been hearing a lot lately about the concussions that damage the brains of football players. Today I read an article in Scientific American that says that even mild concussions raise the risk of depression and suicide three times or more.

A Single Concussion May Triple the Long-Term Risk of Suicide

They don't know what the mechanism is, but the evidence is clear, that even mild concussions cause brain damage that has severe consequences.

Maybe in Leif's case, he might have been able to handle any combination of all the problems he faced if he hadn't had the head injuries, or the asthma, which bothered him greatly. Both head injuries and asthma are also associated with depression. Several studies have shown a link between asthma and increased suicide rates, too, particularly with severe asthma.

Too many risk factors for one man to escape.

Who knows, maybe without the injuries and the asthma, he would still be alive.

1 comment:

  1. Its odd how I was searching for SCA garb for big men, and in the images section of google, I saw Leif's picture which brought me to this article, to be read by a football coach that has to keep concussions in mind all the time.
    I do love reading these memories from time to time.
    Big hugs to you today.