DIXON (CBS) – Another suicide connected to possible football-related brain injuries has left a UC Davis Athletic Hall of Fame member and former 49er dead.
Jason Hairston was also the founder of a hugely successful hunting apparel company called KUIU based in Dixon.
The company valued at $50 million posted a solemn farewell picture of their founder in black and white on their social media sites.
President Donald Trump’s son Donald J. Trump, Jr posted photos of the pair on a hunting trip to Canada just weeks ago, along with a statement reading:
“Thanks for the friendship and the memories buddy. I’m going to miss you. R.I.P.”
Hairston had recently been appointed to a position with the federal government’s Department of Interior.
His success in business followed a short career as an NFL linebacker, and a Hall of Fame college football career at UC Davis.
Hairston had talked openly about his battles with symptoms from what he believed was CTE, a brain disease associated with head trauma.
His friend George Visger, also a former 49er with brain injuries from his playing days, says Hairston had shared with him struggles with symptoms.
“We’re ball players and you got that mentality that you know it’s not going to get me,” Visger said. “But he talked about it a lot too for a few years.”
Visger, who now receives brain injury treatment at the Center for Neuro Skills says Hairston’s business success after football shows how difficult brain injuries can be to diagnose.
“You know, we have a saying in the brain injury world,” Visger said. “If you’ve seen one brain injury, you’ve seen one brain injury. Every single one is different.”
Hairston leaves behind a wife and young children, and friends around the world. All asking , “why?”
”This wasn’t their dad, their husband and brother and friend, that thought this out,” Visger said. “This was a freaking broken part of his brain.”
Jason Hairston was a success in life. His death is another painful reminder of the long-term impact from the bruising game of football.
The family has released a statement on the KUIU website asking that donations be made to support CTE-related research at the “Boston University Concussion Legacy Foundation” in lieu of sending flowers.