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Austin Box


Even before his famed career as an OU linebacker Austin Box played sports at a high level, excelling in basketball, baseball and football in high school. He suffered his first major sports injury, a stress fracture in his back, at age 14. Undaunted, he always continued to play—even leading the football team to a 6A championship game after hyper-extending his elbow earlier that season. Not once does his family remember him complaining. He simply bided his time and got back in the game as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, he continued to struggle with injuries during his college football career—finally rupturing a disc in his back at the start of the 2010 season. It was from that injury, his family believes, that he developed an addiction to prescription drugs. His initial prescription was for a limited supply of painkillers to help while he healed, but ultimately became the coping mechanism that led to his fatal overdose. Austin’s family, a huge source of support on and off the field, felt blindsided. They had seen no signs of his continued use of the pills and, as in his high school career, he never complained about pain. Austin, like many victims of prescription drug addiction, didn’t “fit the profile” of an addict. He was a positive, talented athlete with a bright future ahead of him. Though painful, Austin’s family is dedicated to sharing his story. Through the Austin Box "12" Foundation they hope to reach young athletes, coaches, trainers, doctors and policy makers to ensure sure no other family has to experience a tragedy like Austin’s.  At McBride Foundation, we support their cause by sharing their story and spreading injury prevention and care awareness. We also encourage legislative initiatives, such as OATA’s push for qualified athletic trainers in schools, to supervise preventative sports health and injury rehabilitation. For more information on how you can help, please contact us.

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