In anticipation of a report from the Oklahoma Medical Examiner's office expected to be released this week, likely to include a toxicology report, the Box family has released a statement with respect to the loss of their child.
There is no greater pain than the loss of a child. The pain is intensified by knowing that the death of your child could have been prevented. Austin was a young man who carried the weight of the world on his shoulders. He was grateful for his many talents, and felt he must always live up to his gifts. Two words he spoke often say so much, "Of course". It did not matter who was asking, whether it be a fan asking for an autograph, or simply a stranger wanting to talk--the response was a smile and "Of course". His greatest fear was letting down other people whether it was his teammates, coaches, friends, or family. In his twenty-two years of life, he never thought to complain because he felt he had been given so much.
Our son endured many injuries during the last seven years of his life, most of them required surgery. The last was the most frightening for him. In August of the 2010 season, he had a disc rupture in his back, and he lost the feeling in his left foot. We were certain his career was over. As always though, he battled back when he saw the team needed him. Willing his battered body back to the field where only the most elite do battle. It is with much sadness; we look back and see that recently Austin had turned to other methods of managing his pain. Methods that we hope if others are employing, they will see this tragic accident as a message and think about the consequences. Our greatest regret is that Austin did not feel he could share his pain with those who loved him, and those he touched. He chose to suffer in silence rather than to feel he let someone down, or hurt his family.
We will forever love, honor, and cherish his memory. Thank you to all of those who have shared stories about how Austin touched your lives in a positive way. We are comforted by the knowledge that God knows what is in a man's heart. Anyone that knew Austin would give testament to his pure heart. The love and pride we feel for our son cannot be diminished by the cause of his death. He gave us so much joy and so many wonderful memories. He will forever be "Mommy's baby" and "Daddy's little boy".
With much grief and sadness,
Craig and Gail Box
I'm very confident that all our loyal readers here at CCM will need no reminder that out of respect to the family, there will be no negative or disrespectful comments tolerated whenever the results are released. No matter what the report contains, we will remain respectful of the terrible and tragic loss the Box family has suffered.
I hate that I even had to put that up here, but sometimes, behind the anonymity of the Internet, some people tend to forget their manners. So hopefully, as I anticipate, it won't even be an issue. However as a fair warning, the ban hammer will be in full effect and we won't hesitate to use it.
Sooner Nation will forever miss you Austin and hopefully we can bring home #8 in your honor and memory!!!