Growing Up on the Gridiron: Football, Friendship, and the Tragic Life of Owen Thomas

Beacon. Sept. 2020. 200p. ISBN 9780807021927. $25.95. SPORTS
In the past few years, more has been learned about the impact of concussions and the lasting efffects of CTE. When he died, Owen Thomas became the youngest person known to have signs of CTE, which is caused by repetitive brain trauma. Journalist Mayk interviews friends, family, and teammates to tell the life of Thomas and how, after his death by suicide at age 21, his story continues to make an impact. Thomas grew up playing football in northeastern Pennsylvania; he loved the sport and ultimately went on to play at the University of Pennsylvania. Mayk beautifully tells about Thomas and his life through those close to him. She also interviews researchers at the Concussion Legacy Foundation. Ultimately, Thomas’s parents wanted his story to be made public in hopes that it could provide others with more information on how CTE and concussions can have severe impacts on young people, not just veteran players as previously thought.
VERDICT Highly recommended for those wanting to learn more about CTE, especially how it can impact young athletes. This memorable story will stay with readers long after finishing the last pages.

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