Michigan Family Believes Son Died Because Of Depression Linked To Politicians Taking Away Hockey

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Michigan’s decision to block winter high school sports may have led to the death of Mona Shores High School senior Brennan Dethloff. Brian and Rona Dethloff believe their son’s January 18 death resulted from depression exacerbated by the state’s decision to push the hockey season back twice, sending Brennan to his breaking point.

“You could see it in his face and his body language and his demeanor that it just took it out of him. We both noticed it and did what we could and … ultimately that night, something set him off,” Brian Dethloff told MLive.com. “You know, unfortunately, he chose to do what he did.”

Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer took to the airwaves on January 28 to tell students that contact sports could return in “weeks or days.”

Winter sports were supposed to return today, February 1, but the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services extended the ban yet again, this time until February 21. Michigan families like the Dethloffs are fed up, and many participated in a Let Them Play rally at the state capitol in Lansing.


Whitmer clearly knows families have been driven to their breaking points but still won’t rule out the possibility that the state could change its mind on the Feb. 21 start date.

“It’s not about changing our mind, it’s about being smart and when the numbers support taking this next step,” she said during her January 28 TV interview. “We’re in a stronger position than most other states in our region and even across the country. So that is a very possible thing that may happen in the coming weeks or days.

“But the fact of the matter is the variant is very concerning. We know that the one that came out of the UK has been present in Washtenaw County, probably beyond. There is a variant that’s coming out of Brazil that’s even more deadly, and so that’s the context that matters when we’re looking at these numbers too. But trust me, as a parent of a high schooler myself, I’d love to get this part of life reengaged, but getting the kids back in the classroom, that’s paramount.”

The Michigan High School Athletic Association attempted to calm fired up parents and announced a day before Whitmer jumped on TV that it was fighting for a February 1 starting date. The association revealed that some parents have even shuffled their kids off to other states so that they can play sports.

The MHSAA said it had conducted a Michigan Department of Health rapid testing pilot program in which high school athletes were tested for COVID. The results were “overwhelmingly positive,” according to the athletic association.

“A total of 5,376 individuals (athletes, coaches, team personnel, cheerleaders, etc.) were tested, and 57 – or 1 percent – tested positive at some point in the pilot. Nearly 30,000 rapid antigen tests were administered – and 99.8 percent were negative,” the MHSAA stated.

The Dethloffs say they’re telling their story to help show the mental health consequences suffered by young people who are dealing with shutdowns.

“We want (Brennan’s) story to help shine a light on what is actually going on. … What he needed was what all these kids needed — a little bit back to normalcy and to get his life back.”

Now it’s up to Whitmer to bring back that normalcy or continue down the path she’s been on for so many months. “We have taken a fact-based approach in confronting the #COVID19 crisis since it began, and it worked,” she tweeted Thursday. Meanwhile, the MHSAA found just .2 percent of athletes tested positive for COVID during its study. 

Draw your own conclusions.


Written by Joe Kinsey

Joe Kinsey is the Senior Director of Content of OutKick and the editor of the Morning Screencaps column that examines a variety of stories taking place in real America.

Kinsey is also the founder of OutKick’s Thursday Night Mowing League, America’s largest virtual mowing league.

Kinsey graduated from University of Toledo.


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  1. WTF kind of comment is this? How else is one going to draw attention to the mental illness that these ‘sCieNce’-driven lockdowns are causing for kids across the globe? The kid’s parents are the ones out in the media trying to get people to cover their tragedy so that others hopefully don’t have to deal with what they’re dealing with. And of course it’s political, it’s the state government of Michigan forcing these circumstances.

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