Today we pause to remember Joseph Chernach on the anniversary of his passing.
Joseph Chernach (July 11, 1986 – June 6, 2012) was a multi-sport athlete youth through high school. He played tackle football with Pop Warner for 4 years, and high school an additional 4 years.
He was MVP of the high school football team, all-state defensive back, and awarded senior athlete.
Symptoms of CTE started shortly after high school, including paranoia, mood issues, depression and suicidal thoughts. He died by suicide at the age of 25, and diagnosed with brain damage and Stage II-III CTE.
He was attending CMU with hopes to become a Physical therapist. His symptoms began the first year of college, and he was unable to finish his degree.
His mom, Debra Pyka, was the first in history to sue Pop Warner for brain damaged, including CTE, to get justice for her son. His family also gives out an annual scholarship in his memory.
Joseph had a smile everyone will remember, and also made others smile with his sense of humor. He is missed by his father Jeffrey, mother Debra Pyka, step father Fred Pyka, brothers Tyler & Seth and sisters Nicole & Samantha.
Please share his story to bring awareness to the dangers of preventable brain damage in collision sports for our youth. #facesofCTE
Photo Credit: Author