Posted by Tom Fornelli
Oklahoma linebacker Austin Box died unexpectedly on May 19th, and according to toxicology reports released by his parents on Monday, we now know that prescription painkillers were what led to Box's death. The toxicology reports show that Box had five different painkillers in his system when he died: oxymorphone, morphine, hydrocodone, hydromorphone and alprazolam.
The probable cause of death was "pulmonary edema and aspiration pneumonia," a condition caused by "mixed drug toxicity." The report also listed cardiomegaly -- an enlarged heart -- and chronic pain history as other significant medical conditions.
News that came as a shock to Box's parents, who had no clue their son was on so many pain medications. According to his father, Craig Box, who had spent the last four days with Austin before his death on a trip to St. Louis, he never saw his son take anything but Advil. Gail Box, Austin's mother, said that although Box had suffered through a number of injuries that required painkillers, her son was never the type to take them longer than he needed to, and she never saw any signs of abuse.
“I am a guidance counselor at Enid High School and, yes, I see drugs and what it does to the young person, their attitude about school, their attitude about life, and I see them give up,” Gail Box told The Oklahoman. “I know the signs of drug use. It is not my job to diagnose but it is my job to refer someone when I suspect. And there have been many times when I have suspected and many times when I have referred. I have wracked my brain. Did I ignore signs? I don't know, but I do know that Austin was a silent sufferer.”
Neither of Box's parents believe that their son would have purposely taken the drugs in a suicide attempt.