TEMPE, AZ (3TV / CBS 5) – Unfortunately, when it comes to football, concussions are not that uncommon. One of the possible long-term effects of head injuries is chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
But CTE isn’t just something older people have to deal with. The Chandler Kimball Foundation was established to honor and remember Chandler Kimball, a Valley football player with CTE who tragically committed suicide at the young age of 25.
“Chandler was the life of the party,” said father Jason Kimball. “He loved standing in front of people; he was a magnet for goodness.”
And from an early age, Jason says Chandler was a magnet for the roster. He lacked size, but he wasn’t afraid to put everything there.
“He had a concussion in 2006,” Kimball said. “He was a great batter and I noticed something was wrong when we took him off the field, and he kept repeating the same questions over and over.”
But still, Chandler continued to play football throughout high school before going to ASU. In the last year and a half of his life, Chandler’s personality took a turn.
“He started having auditory hallucinations and paranoia and really started isolating himself,” Kimball said.
After Chandler’s death in 2019, pathologist and CTE expert Dr. Bennet Owalu (played by Will Smith in the 2015 film ‘Concussion’) determined that Chandler did have CTE. Owalu says it’s not uncommon for young athletes who play tackle football and other contact sports to develop this condition.
“If your kid only plays soccer for one season, your kid’s brain is damaged,” Owalu said.
Jason didn’t know this. He ensures that other parents do the same through the Chandler Kimball Foundation.
“We’re not against football,” Kimball said. “Our focus is only on kids who shouldn’t be playing tackle football. So I think that’s the message.”
About the one thing Chandler loved more than football? Music. So Jason and the Foundation decided to have some of Chandler’s favorite artists all come to Sunbar in Tempe. Former Cardinals quarterback John Skelton will be attending the event, with all proceeds going toward learning more about CTE.
“I have a seven-year-old son,” Skelton said. “He’s not playing football yet, but eventually he will. I think this event is great just to raise awareness of the disease and its long-term effects.”
Jason thinks Chandler also enjoyed the event.
“I know Chandler just feels the vibe,” Kimball said. “He is very happy that this is happening.”
If you would like to donate to the Chandler Kimball Foundation, you can do so here.
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