The sister of Kelly Catlin, the three-time cycling world champion who has died at the age of 23, says her sibling suffered a concussion in the months before she took her own life
The sister of Kelly Catlin, the three-time cycling world champion who has died at the age of 23, says her sibling suffered a concussion in the months before she killed herself.
Christine Catlin told the Washington Post on Sunday that a series of crashes, in which Kelly broke her limb and suffered a concussion, had had a profound effect on her sister.” She couldn’t develop as well as she used to ,” Christine Catlin said.” She had really bad headaches and was sensitive to light. Then she tried to commit suicide in January … she had written this lengthy email[ to her family] and said her thinks were racing all the time. She was suicidal, her reasoning was really dark and she had taken to nihilism. We called police the moment we got the email, and they got there in time to save her that time .”
Catlin’s father, Mark, confirmed on Sunday that his daughter had recently taken her working life.” There isn’t a minute that goes by that we don’t think of her and think of the wonderful life she could have lived ,” Mark Catlin told Velo News.” There isn’t a second in which we wouldn’t freely give our lives in exchange for hers. The hurt is unbelievable .”
Concussions are linked to chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE, which can only be diagnosed after demise. CTE has been found in hundreds of former American football players although it is often associated with NFL veterans rather than young athletes. Symptoms of CTE include depression, memory loss and mood swings. Mark Catlin said Kelly’s death was due to a” perfect cyclone” of overtraining, taking too much on, depression and not fully comprehending the effects of her concussion.
Catlin helped a dominant US team to three consecutive world titles in the team pursuit between 2016 and 2018. She also won a silver medal in the team pursuit at the 2016 Olympics. Catlin was a force in the individual pursuit too, winning bronze at the World Track Championships in 2017 and 2018. Along the road, she vied for Rally UHC Cycling.
But Catlin’s talent went well beyond cycling. She was studying for a graduate degree in computational and mathematical engineering at Stanford, after competing an undergraduate degree in math and Chinese. She was also a talented violinist and artist.
Catlin was a triplet along with Christine and their friend, Colin. He said that he had sparked her interest in cycling, saying that at first” she didn’t really want to, but she started winning things and she likes winning things .”
Christine Catlin said her sister’s talents were clear from a young age. “[ Kelly] was a really special person- kind, funny, empathetic, and talented at literally everything she did ,” she said.” She merely felt like she couldn’t say no to everything that was asked of her and this was her merely escape .”
Last month on Velo News, Catlin wrote about the difficulties of balancing her athletic and academic career.
” Being a graduate student, way cyclist, and professional road cyclist can instead definitely sounds like I need to time-travel to get everything done. And things still slip through the fissures ,” she wrote.” This is probably the point when you’ll expect me to say something cliche like,’ Time management is everything .’ Or perhaps you’re expecting a nice, encouraging slogan like,’ Being a student only constructs me a better athlete !’ After all, I somehow make everything work, right? Sure. Yeah, that’s somewhat accurate. But the truth is that most of the time, I don’t stimulate everything run .”
In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or email jo @samaritans. org. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international suicide helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.