COLUMBUS, Ohio – Days before Ohio State is to play in the Big Ten championship, team buses carried players and coaches to a Columbus cathedral where they paid their final respects to a teammate who apparently shot himself in the head after sending a message to his parents saying concussions had addled his mind.
Family members, athletes and coaches visibly grieved as they left the private funeral of Kosta Karageorge, some with tears in their eyes.
Karageorge, 22, was found dead in a trash bin near his home on Sunday. Four days earlier he had disappeared after sending his parents a text message: "I am sorry if I am an embarrassment but these concussions have my head all f----- up."
Dr. Anahi Ortiz, the Franklin County coroner, had not ruled on the manner of his death but said Karageorge had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. A handgun was found in the trash bin with him, police said.
Karageorge's mother told police he'd had several concussions and a few spells of extreme confusion. The coroner said a special examination will be done of Karageorge's brain to look for any traumatic injury.
Fellow football players have described Karageorge as a hard-working and enthusiastic athlete who often stayed for extra practice. His position coach, defensive line coach Larry Johnson, was among those at the funeral.
Nearly all of Karageorge's teammates departed Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Columbus without speaking.
Karageorge was a Buckeyes wrestler for three years and joined the football team as a walk-on at defensive tackle this season. The senior hadn't played any games and was a member of the "scout team," taking on the role of an opposing team member during the regular starters' weekday practices.
His body was found by a woman searching trash bins near her neighborhood for scrap metal to sell.
Karageorge's family planned a private burial in Athens County.
The football team was expected to wear a helmet sticker with Karageorge's No. 53 during Saturday's Big Ten championship game against Wisconsin in Indianapolis.