Donald Trump’s absence from tonight’s seventh GOP debate, happening in Des Moines, is a topic on one Iowa newspaper front page today. But a bigger story locally is the results of an autopsy performed on Tyler Sash, the Iowa Hawkeyes defensive star who went on to help the New York Giants win Super Bowl XLVI. He was just 27.
Iowa City Press-Citizen reporter Andrew Logue spoke with a number of sportswriters for his report, including Robert Klemko, who contributes to Sports Illustrated and MMQB, ex-Hawkeye turned Pac 12 Network analyst Anthony Herron and a local fan site overseer:
“You can say ‘I enjoy football, and Hawkeye football,’” said Adam Jacobi, managing editor of BlackHeartGoldPants.com, “but you can also be concerned for these guys and sort of want to make sure that they’re well taken care of after their careers are over.”
“You can’t assume this is safe for these guys anymore, which is a bummer.”
Sash’ mother Barney shared some sobering thoughts with local NBC affiliate KWWL. She remembered finding him shaking badly in his apartment after an NFL contest and hopes his death will renew discussion of this important, serious issue:
“My son just played as hard as he could, all the time and I think it got him into trouble.”
It’s led her to question the sport entirely. “Football isn’t life, it’s a game that we love and have a lot of passion for. But when it cuts your life short, it’s not worth it.”
Young Tyler is the 98th athlete to be posthumously diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. He died in September due to the ingestion of a toxic mixture of methadone and hydrocodone. RIP.