Seizure, CTE contributes to former Miamisburg football player’s drowning death

Cody Hamblin

MIAMISBURG, Ohio (WDTN) – Cody Hamblin was a star quarterback at Miamisburg High School–who rarely took a seat on the bench. He was also a son, brother and friend to so many.

When his family learned he drowned, they were puzzled as to how considering he was an athlete and a swimmer. But after months of research and team a doctors, the family finally got clarity. Football–which played a major role in Cody’s life–may have played a role in his death.

“They said he’s breathing,” Darren Hamblin said. “We got a heartbeat. Start up the Air Vac. They started up the helicopter and within 30 seconds it shut back down. They said he’s gone.”

22-year-old Cody Hamblin had drowned. It happened memorial weekend at Lake Lorelei while Hamblin was fishing with his grandpa on their boat. At the time, he was on the phone with his mother.

“His arms went out in front of him,” Hambin said. “He dropped everything and just froze and he just went over. He went in the water went straight down. No bubbles. No fight. No nothing. Never came out.”

Doctors later learned Cody suffered a seizure–something his family said he had no history of. Wanting to know more, his family sent his brain to doctors in Chicago for testing. The diagnosis–Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, otherwise known as CTE.

The 2015 Hollywood blockbuster Concussion was centered around it.

“In the last, 5 to 10 years. It’s been identified in the brains of football players who have played for a long time with recurring concussions, head injuries,” Dr. Sean Convery said. “There is a thought, it’s not overwhelmingly accepted that that is the cause of these changes.”

Right now, doctors can only test for CTE using dead brain cells–meaning there’s no way to test for it in people still living. Research shows a link between repeated concussions and CTE, but not a direct link between football and CTE.

Cody’s father Darren Hamblin feels responsible.

“All family members kind of want to blame themselves,” Hamblin said. “For this that and the other, but as a father that’s your job to protect your kid.”

Cody was an organ donor. His organ and tissue donations have helped over 70 people. Last year, his family gave a scholarship in Cody’s memorial at Miamisburg High School. They hope to keep that alive in the coming years.

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