SPRING HILL, Kansas - There are new questions in the death of a Spring Hill football player. Autopsy results released Thursday said Nathan Stiles, 17, died from an undetected brain injury.
The report said Stiles had a subdural hemorrhage . Dr. Michael Handler, who performed the autopsy, said the hemorrhage was caused by a significant football head injury. Three weeks ago, Stiles’ parents remembered only one: a concussion during Stiles’ homecoming game on October 1, 2010.
“That Wednesday, we got a call from the school trainer saying you need to get him checked out, so we did,” said Connie Stiles, Nathan’s mother.
After a CT scan, Stiles got medical clearance. Dr. Handler said reading CT scans can be tricky. However, Stiles’ tests should have revealed a healing subdural, Dr. Handler said.
Instead, doctors allowed Stiles to play in two more games. On October 29, 2010, just before halftime, Stiles complained of severe headaches, had a seizure, collapsed, then died hours later at a hospital.
“This is every physician’s worst nightmare,” said Dr. Lori Boyajian-O’Neill, a specialist with Midwest Sports Medicine in Independence.
Dr. Boyajian-O’Neill said this kind of tragedy is rare. However, she believes it should be a wake-up call for parents and coaches to understand the signs, symptoms and behaviors of concussions.
“What will follow then is a careful and conservative management plan to get the athlete back to school, back on the playing field safely,” said Dr. Boyajian-O’Neill.
Stiles parents declined on-camera interview requests Thursday evening. In the past, they’ve said no one is to blame for Nathan’s death. On the phone, they said they now have new questions and need to digest the autopsy report before making any public comment.
Copyright 2010 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.