An Ohio State Football player, who disappeared just days before a game against the team’s biggest rival, was found dead over the weekend -- apparently by his own hand. As Ohio Public Radio’s Andy Chow reports -- the team is still baffled by the loss of a player who many describe as happy and energetic.
Friends say nothing seemed out of the ordinary last Tuesday when they last saw Kosta Karageorge —a 22-year-old senior who joined the Buckeyes as a walk-on in August. But early the next morning—Karageorge said he was going out for a walk—and never returned.
His disappearance sparked a search involving teammates, police, students and other Columbus residents. His picture was even projected on the jumbotron during the Buckeye’s game against archrival—Michigan on Saturday. It wasn’t until the next day when a woman and her son found Karageorge’s body inside a dumpster close to his apartment.
Columbus Police say alongside his body was a handgun and it appears Karageorge took his own life—news that stuns teammates like Taylor Decker.
Decker: “You just kind of wake up and you know hope it was all just a nightmare. Just for somebody you’ve been with every day for months and months just to… It’s sad.”
Decker says Karageorge was a positive, well-liked person with a passion for competition. He and Junior Linebacker Joshua Perry say they never noticed any warning signs.
Perry: “He was a funny guy. He was lighthearted. He was goofy. He always had a smile on his face so to hear news like that—it was really tragic.”
Before joining the team Karageorge was a heavyweight wrestler at OSU. While he never played a down on Saturdays—his coaches say he worked hard helping the starters prepare for games.
Susan Karageorge says her son sent her a text message shortly before he went missing—saying that concussions had messed up his head. The AP reports that his sister, Sophia, says he suffered a concussion as recently as last month.
Ohio State’s football coach Urban Meyer won’t say whether Karageorge was being treated for concussions but he does commend team doctors.
Meyer: “This is the best group of medical people I’ve ever been around and the way they handle their business and their attention to detail.”
The death is weighing on players here as they prepare for the Big Ten Championship game on Saturday. But Decker says they’re a close-nit team that has perspective.
Decker: “We’re trained to play football and this is so much more than that. Football’s just a game. People blow it out of proportion and make it a lot bigger than it is. We just have to go—go back to each other and lean on each other for strength.”
Ohio State Senior Colleen Miracle says Karageorge’s death could serve as a wake-up call for students here.
Miracle: “It’s just—be aware of your feelings and those around you—even people you might not talk to that much and just try to utilize the resources on campus.”
Police are still investigating Karageorge’s death before officially ruling it a suicide.
Because of the text that mentioned concussions—county coroner Anahi Ortiz says Karageorge’s brain will be examined by a neuropathologist to search for any signs of traumatic brain injury.