SPRING HILL (AP) — A 17-year-old Kansas high school football player who died a day after a recent football game had a previous head injury that wasn’t completely healed, a coroner said Thursday.
Spring Hill player Nathan Stiles died from a re-bleed of an undetected subdural hematoma suffered in the previous game, Johnson County deputy coroner Michael Handler told The Kansas City Star. A subdural hematoma is bleeding between two layers of tissue between the brain and the skull.
Experts say about 100,000 high school athletes suffer concussions each year, but a subdural hematoma is rare.
Stiles died Oct. 29, one day after he was apparently reinjured during a game, then complained of a severe headache and collapsed on the sideline.
Handler said it was most likely that Stiles suffered the subdural hematoma during a game Oct. 1. Family members said Stiles had sustained what was believed to be a concussion in that game but had been cleared to play in the Oct. 28 game.
Connie Stiles, Nathan’s mother, said her son had a CT scan in early October and that nothing was detected.
“He could still function,” she said. “He could do calculus.”
She said the high school’s football trainer told her after the Ottawa game that Nathan was having headaches. So, she decided to take him to the hospital for a scan. She said Nathan played in a game against Paola a week before he died.
“If there wasn’t anything on the CT scan, I wonder if it happened in the Paola game,” Stiles said, referring to the subdural hematoma. “I don’t think anything has changed. We can speculate all day long. Only God knows.”