Kosta Karageorge texted his mother before he disappeared last week. He apologized for being "an embarrassment." He explained that concussions had left his brain disoriented. He was found with a gun in a dumpster, an apparent suicide.

Kosta Karageorge texted his mother before he disappeared last week. He apologized for being "an embarrassment." He explained that concussions had left his brain disoriented. He was found with a gun in a dumpster, an apparent suicide.

Karageorge was a wrestler and, since August, a walk-on defensive tackle at Ohio State. He was 22 years old, from Worthington. Our hearts go out to his family.

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Karageorge will be in our thoughts this week as Ohio State prepares for the Big Ten championship game and Ohio Stadium plays host to the state high-school football championships. He will force us to reckon with the question of whether some of our young men are mere chattel for the sport we adhere to like a religion.

In 2010, University of Pennsylvania football player Owen Thomas hanged himself in his apartment. Former Duke lineman Ted McNairy went missing for days in 1995. He was found in his father's garage, a suicide victim.

The concussion discussion is now part of our daily sports talk.

A news blog at esquire.com runs a continuing series called "This week in visible NFL concussions." It uses video to show "what concussions actually look like." One of the running themes is the rareness of TV documentation of injuries suffered by interior linemen.

The website for the PBS show Frontline tracks concussions in the NFL and, to this point in the 2014 season, the total is 85. Cornerbacks, safeties, linebackers and wide receivers suffer the greatest number of concussions. Offensive tackles are next.

Frontline last year aired "League of Denial," based on the book by Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada, who document the rise in traumatic brain injuries among NFL players. This and other reports have made CTE - or chronic traumatic encephalopathy - part of our sports lexicon. When Dave Duerson shoots himself in the chest in order to preserve his brain for CTE research, it is no longer a surprise.

At this point, we cannot be sure that Karageorge's apparent suicide is linked to the history of concussions he suggested in his text message. In any case, his story will be part of an expanding focus on head injuries in lower levels of football.

The NCAA has acknowledged that "under-reporting of concussions is likely to be higher in football than in other contact sports, since football offers more in-game 'downtime' during which the immediate symptoms of concussions can subside."

The NCAA, as part of a court settlement in July, earmarked $70 million for monitoring of former athletes who might be suffering from brain injuries. An expert panel in that case estimated that college football players are three times more likely than the general population to have symptoms of CTE.

Compared with CTE, the link between concussions and depression - especially among youths - is better understood. Recent studies have made clear the correlation. Some of us do not need studies.

If you are a parent of a child who fell off a swing when she was 6 years old and was found to have suffered a concussion, and you experienced this child's adolescence - well, you cannot definitively say there is a correlation. You just know. I know. This is one reason I have kept track of this issue.

Study and discussion are the best recourses. We need to know more. We also need to adjust our attitudes. "Rub some dirt on it" is no longer quaint; it is dangerous.

The NFL and the NCAA, both stung by litigation, are starting to get it. Our president has called attention to the problem. Our youth leagues are instituting "Heads Up" tackling tutorials.

The National Federation of State High Schools last month issued a new set of protocols for minimizing head impact. It has been hailed as a sober, intelligent and far-reaching document.

I cannot draw a line from A to B to explain what happened to Kosta Karageorge. I just don't want to see another one like him.

I want to have hope, if it is possible.

Michael Arace is a sports reporter for The Dispatch.

marace@dispatch.com

@MichaelArace1