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Posted 15 Oct 2001   For week ended October 05, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 14Oct01

By Rosemary Pollock

Ex-BYU Star's Life Reveals Problem of Pain Drugs

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- Former Brigham Young University football team captain, Craig Garrick, died Sept.3 at the age of 41. LaVell Edwards spoke at his funeral and reminded those in attendance how he had once told Garrick's mother Janet, that Craig shouldn't play football because of his bad knee, a knee that was so bad it would bow six inches to the side with every step. "That's not an option," she replied. "If he didn't play, he would die."

Twenty years later that is what happened. Officially, he died from complications resulting from abdominal surgery, but specifically he died from complications from prolonged use of pain medication, an obsession with the game of football and from a single play that changed his life forever at the age of 18.

Kyle Whittingham, a former BYU linebacker and currently the coach at the University of Utah was a former friend to Garrick. Whittingham didn't recognize the tall man, who one day who was wearing a Home Depot apron and called to him: "Hey, Coach Whittingham." "Craig is that you?" Whittingham replied. "He was a totally different looking guy." "We were inseperable for 15 years," said Whittingham. "We were a pair." "He told me he was going to have stomach surgery, and I said I'd come see him in the hospital."

"It was a routine operation for most people," said Garrick's older brother David, who is a recently retired surgeon. "I did a lot of them in the Gulf War." "He had so many problems that a tonsillectomy would have been a risk," David explained. Garrick lost 30 pounds in just a few months and after conuslting three different doctors each were overwhelmed. "I don't know what to do," they each told Garrick's wife Carol.

Garrick underwent surgery on Aug. 29 and the procedure went well, but it seemed Garrick feared the worst. The night before his death he told his wife, "Carol, I'm going to die. You have no idea how much I love you and appreciate you taking care of me. No one would've put up with this. Thank you for my beautiful boys." The next morning the family received word that Garrick was in full cardiac arrest. "I was there in about 20 minutes," said David. "I asked them what happened, and they said, 'We don't know.'"

Three days later about 20 family members and friends gathered at Garrick's side to say goodbye. "I felt very strong that he was ready," said Carol. "I feel he's much happier. He's not in pain, and he doesn't have to worry anymore." In an effort to find meaning David said, "This can happen to anyone. Craig was the greatest guy - he had the highest values - but he fell victim to drugs and the need to compete."


Ex-BYU star free of pain - at last
Deseret News 30Sep01 S2
By Doug Robinson: Deseret News senior writer


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