A promising Florida high school football star who was scheduled to start classes at Georgia Tech on a full scholarship has reportedly taken his life.
Bryce Gowdy died on Monday after he deliberately walked in front of a freight train, according to the Sun-Sentinel. He had been struggling with mental health issues in the days leading up to his death, according to his mom, Shibbon Winelle.
Winelle shared her concerns for Gowdy’s mental state on Facebook Live before he disappeared late Sunday night.
“I said, ‘Bryce, you have to dig within and fight these demons that you’re fighting.’ I told him I wasn’t strong enough to help him right now, and I have my own demons that I was trying to fight,” Winelle said in the video, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
“I wouldn’t let him hold my hand ’cause his energy was so intense. I could feel the pain in his soul and it was breaking my heart,” she added.
Winelle said she told him to “get it together” and “toughen up.”
Gowdy, who had been battling with homelessness alongside his younger brothers and mom, was visibly upset about leaving his family to attend college. The star athlete, however, told his family he was excited to attend college and pursue a degree in finance or engineering. The rising college student took on the burden of his family’s financial stress and his mother’s mental health issues, Yahoo reports.
His mother said he had been “talking crazy” and “talking in circles” since Christmas, even concerning himself with his family’s wellbeing in his absence.
“He kept talking about the signs and the symbols that he was seeing all over the place,” Winelle said on Facebook. “About how he could see the world for what it really was. He kept saying that he could see people for what they really are.”
On Sunday night, the 17-year-old was asked to retrieve his mom’s blanket from the car where his family had recently been staying before getting a hotel room. Gowdy never returned and left behind his shoes, wallet and phone in the room.
About five or six hours since he was sent to the car, he was found by the train tracks on Monday and was taken to the hospital where he later died. He was found less than a mile away from where his family was staying. His death was ruled a suicide by the Broward County medical examiner.
Gowdy was scheduled to start classes at Georgia Tech on January 6.
His football coach Jevon Glenn said the Florida teen was a “great kid.”
“[He was] a kid that was one of the top football players in the country, one of the top students in the country and one of the top people in the country,” Glenn said.
According to the Sun-Sentinel, about two teens in Florida take their own lives each week. Another teen, Alejandra Agredo, reportedly stepped in front of a train in Miami, claiming her own life on November 26.
Original Content: Blavity.com