Snowboarder Ellie Soutter's father fears the 18-year-old took her own life because her 'mind may have been affected' from head injuries
Ellie Soutter's heartbroken dad has finally revealed the reason he believes the promising young snowboarder took her own life
According to the devastated father of the late snowboarding star Ellie Soutter, his daughter took her own life after the head injuries she sustained from the sport. In a remote woodland in Les Gets, France, the emerging snowboarding phenom committed suicide on her 18th birthday after struggling to deal with the immense weight on her shoulders. Her 53-year-old father Tony says that due to the several head injuries and concussions Ellie suffered during her career, her mind may have been affected. After one of the injuries, he recalled, his daughter was unable to recognize him for almost seven hours.
In a conversation with The Sunday Times, Tony said, "She had been airlifted off the mountain about five times, each time with a head injury. She didn't recognize me for seven hours after the incident. She had nasty headaches and trouble sleeping."
He also revealed that the University of Boston got in touch with him right after Ellie's demise to ask the family if they could conduct a biopsy of her brain, prompting the embattled father to begin his own research on Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). Repeated blows to the head as well as recurrent episodes of concussions led Ellie to develop the said condition, which is reportedly a type of dementia. CTE is also known to cause severe bouts of depression.
Tony added, "Had I known about CTE I would have stopped her racing completely." Ellie, who lived with her father in the French Alps, took her own life just days after she was slated to represent Team GB at the Junior Snowboard World Championships in New Zealand the following month. She was so good that she was selected to represent her country at the Winter Olympics to be held in 2022.
At her funeral, around 400 people attended to pay their respects to the young snowboarding star. Her wooden coffin was carried by pallbearers up 15 granite steps of the church in Les Gets to Handel's Largo, Daily Mail reports.
Ellie's ashes were later scattered on her favorite mountain, Mont Chéry. Her father paid a tribute to her, saying, "From this day on, every snowflake that falls on Les Gets will have been ridden by Ellie first." Tony has pledged to create the Ellie Soutter Foundation to help aspiring young Britons become winter sports athletes, in a tribute to her "amazing short life."
In a conversation with Daily Mail, Jeremy Soutter, Ellie's uncle, said there were "no signs at all" that his "chirpy" little niece would ever consider committing suicide. However, Jeremy did not dismiss the pressure his niece put on herself, saying, "She wanted to be good at everything. She expected a lot of herself. There's certainly a lot of pressure from competing. The traveling is immense too. She had a very busy training schedule and generally, all of that takes its toll."