HENDERSON, Colo. — A local mother is speaking out about concussions after her son disappeared.
Nick Rader, 33, of Henderson had been missing for three days when he was found at a hospital in Colorado Springs this week.
His mother, Mary Rader, was expecting the worst because of brain injuries he sustained as a bull rider. She is now speaking out about the risk of permanent brain damage in some sports.
“Maybe it’s OK today, but later on, it could destroy their life. I’m watching my son’s life be destroyed and stolen from him,” Mary said.
Nick is displaying symptoms of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), which is common among football players, boxers and other people who may get concussions often.
“I think people need to really stop and think when they are letting their kids play contact sports — whether it’s rodeo or football or any kind of sport where they could get a concussion,” Mary said.
Mary said memory loss, seizures, depression and severe headaches are all common for her son.
Nick made headlines when he caused a crash in the Denver Tech Center that injured three people in February.
His family said he was having a seizure. No drugs or alcohol were found in his system.
Still, he’s ashamed about his condition.
“[He] doesn’t want to talk about it openly. He says people don’t believe it’s real. They believe it’s an excuse. He has no control over [it],” Mary said.
While Nick is safe once again, his family continues to worry. They are unsure whether he’ll wander off or if he’ll intentionally put himself in danger.
They are sharing their story in the hopes it will help prevent the same thing from happening to someone else.