Concussion considered in teen athlete's suicide

The suicide of a Brentsville District High School football player who friends say recently suffered a concussion follows high-profile suicides of collegiate and professional football players that have raised questions about links between brain trauma and mental health.

Austin Trenum hanged himself Sunday afternoon, Sgt. Kim Chinn, a Prince William County police spokeswoman, said Tuesday. He was taken to Inova Fairfax Hospital, where he died about 2 a.m. Monday, she said.

The death of Trenum — who also played lacrosse and was the son of county school board member Gil Trenum — has left his family and friends in shock.

Students said Trenum was believed to have suffered a concussion during Friday's football game, but county schools spokesman Ken Blackstone said he didn't know the nature of the injury.

Friends remembered Trenum as a quiet teenager with a sense of humor who worked hard on the football and lacrosse fields and was a good example to his younger brothers.

“His willingness to smile at anything was my favorite trait about him,” Rande Cherry, a former lacrosse teammate who was two years older than Trenum, wrote in an e-mail.

Tyler Robb, who was captain of the Brentsville varsity lacrosse team last year, called Trenum a “hard working and genuine guy” who was “always having fun.”

In a letter to Brentsville students and parents, Principal Robert Scott called Trenum “a talented athlete, a bright scholar, a student leader, and a good friend to his classmates and teammates.”

Trenum's death comes in the wake national attention on issues surrounding young athletes, concussions and suicide.

A brain autopsy on Owen Thomas, a University of Pennsylvania football player who killed himself in April, showed that he had the beginnings of a trauma-induced disease found in more than 20 deceased professional players and linked to depression and impulse control.

Last week, Denver Broncos wide receiver Kenny McKinley killed himself. He had been battling to return from a severe injury.

Thomas' mother testified this month at congressional hearings about a bill that would require K-12 schools to implement concussion education and management plans.

Improving safety is important because repetitive head trauma is associated with mental health issues, said Robert Stern, a Boston University neurology professor.

“There's definitely a link between brain trauma and depression and other symptoms that are associated with suicide, but there's no way to ever draw a direct line between the brain trauma or the disease and the individual's suicide,” he said.

ebabay@washingtonexaminer.com

LocalnewssportsUS

Just Posted

San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler, pictured in July at Oracle Park, says team members simultaneously can be “measured and calm” and “looking to push the accelerator.” (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
How Gabe Kapler sets the tone for Giants’ success with strategy, mindset

‘There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s the hands-down manager of the year’

Artist Agnieszka Pilat, pictured with Spot the Robot Dog from Boston Robotics, has a gallery show opening at Modernism. (Courtesy Agnieszka Pilat)
Screenshots of VCs, Kanye and tech parties by the Bay

In this week’s roundup, Ben Horowitz’s surprising hip-hop knowledge and the chic tech crowd at Shack15

Speaker of the Parliament of Mongolia Gombojav Zandanshatar said his country and San Francisco face similar challenges on issues including COVID recovery and climate change.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
Mongolian leaders meet with tech, film leaders on city tour

‘I really want San Franciscans to meet the new Mongolian generation’

If he secured a full term in the Senate, Newsom would become the most powerful Californian Democrat since Phil Burton at the height of his career, or maybe ever. <ins>(Kevin Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
Firefighters extinguish burning material near Lake Tahoe on Sept. 3 in the wake of the Caldor Fire; environmental scientists say the huge fire is bringing to light deficiencies in forest management. <ins>(Max Whittaker/New York Times)</ins>
Cal Fire, timber industry must face an inconvenient truth

We are logging further into the wildfire and climate crisis

Most Read