OPINION: The Case of Erica Blasberg and Success
According to a recent Las Vegas AP report, former LPGA folger Erica Blasberg's death has been officially ruled a suicide by the Nevada coroner's office.
The Clark County coroner's office said Tuesday that Blasberg died of suicide due to asphyxia, coupled with the presence of toxic levels of prescription medication in her system, including prescription headache, cough, pain and anti-anxiety medications.
To suggest that anyone other than what Blasberg was going through the weeks leading up to her death would be out of bad taste and pure conjecture, so I will refrain from going down that path in this post. Furthermore, the thought of tying Blasberg's untimely death to her LPGA career would be out-of-line and pure speculation.
Dealing with outside pressures and anxiety need not be related to any profession, life event, or level of expectation for a talented athlete. Those factors certainly can add unneeded stress to a person's life, anxious or not. However, the issues usually run much deeper than any one person looking on from the outside can see.
Cases such as Blasberg's are certainly sad, however not uncommon among young people her age. Having dealt with anxiety most of my life, I will humbly state that I can somewhat relate to a person not letting go of stress, or simply "getting over it". The phrase "easier said than done" does not even come close to explaining how one can feel with an anxiety condition.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the Blasberg family during this difficult time, which undoubtedly involves uncertainty, many questions, and shock. One thing is true, however: time does heal most. We just have to allow it to.
After further review of the information already known about this case, something does not add up.
We already know that Hess and Blasberg had a “more than professional” relationship, per statements made by Blasberg’s father during an interview. Hess made the phone call presumably after stopping by unannounced and thus discovering Erica’s body that morning.
However, this call was only made after Hess removed the pill bottles from the scene yet kept the bag in place. Hess is a medical doctor, and anyone with the slightest bit of first aid training knows that if a patient appears to be choking the FIRST step is to remove the object or obstruction.
Furthermore, as the 911 transcript shows, Hess caught himself in mid-sentence twice as to not disclose specific locations while answering the dispatcher. While I am sure he was in a panic, it seems unlikely that he would remember to not disclose certain locations. Why would that matter at the time, and why would he choose to stay mum?
Also, there is a portion of the call where the dispatcher requests Hess to stay on the line while she turns her attention for a second:
Responder: Ok, so tell me again, sir? Tell me again what exactly happened last night that had you worried for her.
Hess: Early -- not early -- yesterday evening. I talked to her the day before and, um, we stopped by. We had a drink at the, um. I had to go, she had to go. I called her yesterday. She was supposed to be leaving for a golf tournament, and she didn't.She picked up the phone and sounded intoxicated at the time.
Responder: Hold on the line with me just a moment.
[Noticeable panting, deep breathing.] [Call disconnects.]
In this exchange, we see an example of how Hess caught himself before disclosing the location where he and Blasberg had a "couple of drinks". The call would ultimately disconnect (which could have been because of faulty cell service, for example) immediately after Hess was asked to remain on the line.