Harry Cohen, Burlington Williams QB, died of accidental overdose

Posted by Andy Durham on September 13, 2011 at 11:48 am under High School | Read the First Comment

from the Burlington Times-News:

BURLINGTON— Harry Cohen’s parents never knew when their son was in pain.

“He was very pain-tolerant,” said Richard Kaffenberger, Cohen’s stepfather. “If he was hurting, he wouldn’t let us know. He was always scared it would keep him out of the game or practice.”

One time, Cohen, the quarterback for Williams High School’s football team, broke his arm but didn’t tell anyone about it for more than a week. He ended up in a cast and missed two games.

“Even with the cast on his arm, he still wanted to play,” Kaffenberger said.

During Cohen’s last football game on Aug. 26 against Southern Alamance, he played hard, leading his team to a 27-17 victory. Many said he had the game of his life. He rushed 28 times for 241 yards. He passed for 107 yards.

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Advertisement | Advertise with Us He also took some hits.

The next morning, Cohen did the usual. He slept in and instead of taking one Epsom salt bath to soothe his aching muscles, he took two. His mother, Jennifer Kaffenberger, knew he took the second bath for a reason, but when she asked if he was hurting, she got the usual reply.

“No, Mom,” Cohen told her. “I’m all right.”

He had a normal day after that. That evening he was at his grandmother’s house. They ate dinner and watched movies.

At some point, Cohen went in a back room to visit with the dog. His parents think that’s probably when he saw the bottle of methadone prescribed to his grandmother who suffers from fibromyalgia.

“Take two every four hours as needed for pain.”

The directions were clear on the bottle. The Kaffenbergers still don’t know if Cohen took one or two before he went to bed on the night of Aug. 27.

“The doctor said a half a methadone pill could have killed him,” Richard Kaffenberger said.

At 150 pounds and almost no body fat, the only thing left to absorb the powerful narcotic was Cohen’s organs.

“That night, for whatever reason, he took them for pain,” Richard Kaffenberger said. “You’re 17, perfectly healthy and invincible and your feeble grandmother can take six a day, why would wouldn’t you take a few for pain?”

It was a fatal decision.

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  • Gfan said,

    Knowing what happened seems to make it even more tragic and senseless. Our prayers continue to go out to the Cohen family. One day I guess we will understand why these thing happen.