Promising 17-year-old Georgia Tech football recruit Bryce Gowdy was fatally struck by a train on Monday, a week before he was to start playing for the team. His death was ruled a suicide by the Broward County Medical Examiner's office. Prior to his death, his mother Shibbon Winnelle said that Gowdy was acting strange and "talking crazy."
"He kept talking about the signs and the symbols that he was seeing all over the place," Winnelle according to the Sun Sentinel. "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." While she was concerned by what he said in the days leading up to his suicide, she also said he was frequently positive at times, too. He told his family that he was excited about his future at Georgia Tech, but he was also worried about leaving his family and their financial struggles behind him.
"He had a lot of questions about spirituality, and life. He kept asking me if I was OK, if his brothers were gonna be OK. I told him yeah," Winelle continued. “We sat in the car yesterday because we didn’t have anywhere to go, and he sat next to me all day just talking." She said that her struggles with the family's financial situation caused her to miss that Gowdy was fighting his own "demons" while she was fighting hers.
A GoFundMe has been started to help raise money for Gowdy's family, covering funeral costs and services. His coach at Georgia Tech, Geoff Collins, said that Gowdy was well-liked by the majority of people.
"Our entire Georgia Tech football family is devastated by the news of Bryce's passing," said GT coach Geoff Collins. "Bryce was an outstanding young man with a very bright future. He was a great friend to many, including many of our current and incoming team members. On behalf of our coaches, players, staff and families, we offer our deepest condolences to Bryce's mother, Shibbon, and his brothers, Brisai and Brayden, as well as the rest of his family members, his teammates and coaches and Deerfield Beach High School, and his many friends. Bryce and his family will always be a part of the Georgia Tech football family."
Gowdy was considered by Rivals.com to be the 37th-ranked wide receiver in the United States. Prior to his death, he tweeted, "Family matters, can't wait to get to the ATL soon!"
If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, please notify someone at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.