One of the saddest stories in all of sports was reported in June of 2018, when a young rugby player in Ireland – just 17 – died from significant brain swelling, seemingly out of the clear blue sky.
A number of medical experts weighed in on the autopsy results, and none could figure out why an otherwise very health, young, and athletic Irish lad would find himself dealing with this level of brain swelling, so much swelling that it caused his tragic death.
Upon further examination of his tox screen, however, medical examiners were able to detect a very small amount of stanozolol in his body. From there, the pieces of the puzzle fell into place quite quickly – and the experts contend that Winstrol was the culprit.
When Luke was still alive, he was complaining about a number of symptoms (included severe headaches, mental fogginess, difficult concentrating, etc) and visited with his local doctor. Early tests were unable to find anything physically wrong with the boy, but Luke continued to complain – and said the symptoms were getting worse.
His family made a decision to go to the crack team of medical experts at the Cork University Hospital Care Unit for further testing. It was here that Dr. Robert Plant asked for further CT scanning to be conducted, where he discovered a number of cerebral edemas that caused significant pressure on the brain stem.
He told Luke and his family about the problem, but was unable to find out why the boy was dealing with this much pressure. All of his bloodwork returned normal, all of his other vitals were okay, and the things the doctors were doing had no impact on his condition.
Unfortunately, things only continued to get worse, and the pressure eventually killed Luke. Dr. Plant was adamant that he tried to do everything he could to save the boys life, and that nothing the hospital tried was able to have any beneficial impact.
It wasn’t until a full toxin screen and blood board were conducted during the autopsy that examiners in Ireland found the low levels of stanozolol present in the boy’s blood stream. Testifying under oath, Dr. Plant has remained steadfast that the only way this could have happened – and the only reasonable explanation for why the pressure built and built even when medical interventions were put in place – was because the boy must have been using PEDs and anabolic steroids, specifically Winstrol.
While another medical professional has corroborated the finding of Dr. Plant, and said that she also believes that Winstrol played a significant role in the demise of young Luke, there are some in the medical field that aren’t so convinced.
Dr. Bolster viewed the evidence and highlighted that the levels of stanozolol that had been found were no more than trace levels, and that it would be difficult for that kind of reading to be possible if the dosage of Winstrol was high enough to kill the boy. She did say that it was possible that Luke’s unique biochemistry negatively reacted with the steroids and caused an anomaly to take place, but it’s impossible to know whether or not that’s what happened any longer.
The parents of young Luke have their own reservations about whether or not their son would have been using steroids. While he was a star athlete and standout rugby player, they contend that Luke wouldn’t have gotten involved in PEDs so young – if at all – and that they have a tough time accepting the findings of two doctors and the coroner.
At the end of the day, a young man tragically lost his life just as it was getting started. Whether or not Winstrol played a role – or how big or small that role may have been – is impossible to know for sure.
Source: English, E. July 6, 2018. Brain swelling from use of steroid caused boy’s death. Retrieved from: https://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/brain-swelling-from-use-of-steroid-caused-boys-death-472631.html