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About Us

On March 25, 2012 Sean Michael O’Malley, former All-SEC football player with the Ole Miss Rebels took his own life.  Sean was a shooting star and we are so thankful for having him in our lives for 41 years, but deep down we now know he should have been with us for many more.  If only we knew about CTE, if only we had shared more of what we had been going through with Sean’s growing despair, his behavior changes, his paranoia, his suicidal thoughts… if only…

Sean reached more than 10,000 people around the world with his world famous and patented Cardio Coach MP3 workouts.  To this day his legacy continues as the Cardio Coach, but now, he will also reach so many more through the tragic circumstances that surrounded his life and death.  Sean suffered multiple concussions throughout his athletic career.  Although we saw changes in his behavior over the years and sought expert help from various psychiatrists, the diagnoses kept coming back as ‘depression’ and ‘ADHD’.  He was medicated, self-medicated, and did everything he knew as a fitness professional to find mental and emotional health – until he could no longer recognize the person he had become.

So, now what?  We continue reaching out and sharing Sean’s story, sharing our story – in hopes that you and your loved one do not have to experience the anguish, despair and utter sadness we have experienced over the past few years and especially the past few months.  Our goal is to help save lives by building a community of love and support for friends and family members of former athletes (and for the athletes too!) so that CTE doesn’t take another shooting star.  This community will provide up-to-date information and resources, events and fundraising activities to help support finding a cure for CTE and to help bring peace to all of us who have been affected by CTE.

Who are we?

Hello, my name is Colleen, aka Sean’s sister.  In the past month or so I have realized that there were various Seans.  There was the boy/young adult I grew up with who was just trying to be the best he could be at every endeavor he took on, from football where he was a walk-on soon converted to full-scholarship all SEC defensive lineman for Ole Miss, to caring for all of the dogs as a volunteer for our local animal shelter.

Sean took on many causes and as he grew as a celebrity he always used his status and funds to support others.  He raised thousands of dollars for the communities affected by Hurricane Katrina.  He created an amazing on-going tribute in 2009 called Press Play Day for a famous athlete named Jim MacLaren of the Choose Living Foundation.  Sean also organized, funded, and participated in races for many of his clients and friends.

Even towards the end when the CTE started warping his thoughts and mental state, he went above and beyond.

I am one of few people who knew the Sean that was tormented and overwhelmed by the physical, emotional and psychological changes that were affecting him.  My family and I did everything we humanly could do to support Sean.  Medical professionals treated him for Bipolar, for ADHD, for depression, there was even talk of schizophrenia at one time, however, looking back I see now that Sean had CTE, or as I often refer to it as early onset Dementia.  I was overwhelmed at times by his rage, his paranoia, his frailty, his mania.  What I failed to see was the progressive deterioration and the frustration that was taking over.  In reading his journals I am now learning how confused and scared he was about his mental state.  How he couldn’t remember dates, including his own age.  How he was losing so many mental abilities that we all take for granted. 

What he gained was the ability to perform as an actor.  We were all shocked when we found out he took his life; not that he hadn’t threatened over the years, but he seemed to have ‘pulled out of the depression’, taught his cycling classes, and even played golf with my Dad and some friends that day… meanwhile had organized and orchestrated his death for the days prior all the way until the last minute and none of us truly suspected that March 25, 2012 would be Sean’s last day with us on Earth.

The guilt has been consuming.  The pain of losing my brother, my best friend has torn me apart.  The fact that I didn’t see what was happening – given my background in psychology and counseling, my deep connection with my brother, my so called awareness, has me even more devastated.  The grieving process has been surreal but I have had one thought since the day after he died that has brought me peace:  that Sean’s death would bring awareness to a cohort of former athletes and their families about CTE.

There is so much in the news about the death of Junior Seau and NFL/NHL former athletes and even more news about parents who are very concerned about their children playing contact sports.  There is even quite a bit of press about former military and PTSD being linked to CTE.  Now it’s time for us to come together and bring light to the darkness many of us have experienced for years.

We, being my parents (Chuck and Nancy), my husband Jeff, and a dear friend of Sean’s (and now mine), Angela Brignole English who also is a former Ole Miss athlete and now a clinical specialist, have formed this organization.  We have talked to various agencies and are looking at starting a non-profit, however at this time we have chosen to pursue what is known as a Low-profit Limited Liability Company (aka a for-profit with a non-profit soul!).  All funds donated and raised will be managed in a foundation fund and will be reported just as we would report as a non-profit.  We will issue quarterly updates and statements with the goal of being transparent and authentic in everything we do.

We also are starting an Advisory Panel and various committees who will be assisting us with everything from policy and legislation efforts to research, event planning, race coordination and press/public awareness.  Stay tuned for more updates!  In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to contact me.  I have so much information to share, just need more time to get it organized and published.  I’m happy to share what I know and am more than willing to provide a shoulder or ear.

Life is 10% what happens to us – 90% what we do with it.  I had been trying to figure out how to capture what I’m feeling and what I am trying to do with this organization and a friend provided me with a very inspiring and touching thank you note yesterday and this quote was on the front.  So with that said, let’s do what we can to help each other better understand the effects of head trauma and contact sports.  This isn’t an attempt to end contact sports, just to bring awareness to CTE — and to help those of us who suspect this is what is affecting our loved ones.  Our goal is to provide education, awareness, support, treatment options and the latest information and resources available. Please read about our WISH LIST to help us accomplish our goals.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 13, 2012 4:45 am

    Creating this organization is an amazing testament to Sean’s desire to help others. There is so much about CTE that is yet to be understood. But until the day we understand it, getting the message out is the best thing you can do.

  2. June 13, 2012 1:55 pm

    Colleen, I am immensely proud of you and of course Jeff for bringing this awareness to us all. Even in non-athletes CTE is being seen. Those who played sports as kids and who on occasion bumped their heads and now in later years is manifesting in the behaviours noted. I with you all 100% of the way in anything I can do and know that Angels do walk among us and yes, Sean’s legacy will live on in the awareness that you are bringing to us all.

    Light and Love
    Sheelagh Gunn

  3. Suganthi permalink
    June 15, 2012 3:32 am

    This is truly phenomenal Colleen. I am simply blown away by your effort and commitment to help others. You have gathered a lot of information and at a most difficult time. It has been hard for me to read some of the details. The ‘registry’ is brilliant and I hope that it reaches many people. Thank you for keeping Sean’s light shining eternally. I will help any way I can.
    Of course, nothing seems to take away the pain of loss, but kudos to all of you: O’Malley-Webers’ for spreading awareness. To me, Sean’s legacy is his kindness and compassion. By starting this information portal, you exemplify the same kindness and generosity of spirit.
    I sincerely wish this brings hope and awareness to CTE.
    Count me in for Team Seano! Lots of love!

  4. Katrina Kaiser permalink
    June 16, 2012 12:34 pm

    I am completely blown away by this website. Colleen I beyond commend you for all that your doing!!! Sean would be so proud!!! He will forever be missed, but his legacy will continue via cardio coach and now via heads up cte, and obviously always in our hearts. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do. I would love to be a part of this. Love u guys. Xo

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