Family of Kelly Catlin (23) links suicide to crashes and concussion

Posted on: March 13th, 2019

Kelly Catlin suicide

Kelly Catlin was a star on the bike and a brilliant scholar but took her own life last week. Now her father has said recent crashes, including a concussion, had had a huge impact on her and changed her as a person.


The family of Kelly Catlin (23) who died by suicide last week has linked her death to recent crashes and concussion.

The US track team member and road professional had won consecutive team pursuit world titles in the past three years.

She also took silver in the same event at the 2016 Olympics and claimed bronze in the individual pursuit at the worlds in 2017 and last year.

From St Paul, Minnesota, she was one of triplets and was studying mathematical engineering at Stanford University in California.

She had already graduated last year from the University of Minnesota with degrees in mathematics and Chinese; combining academia with her cycling career.



As well as being a very successful track international she competed on the road with Rally Pro Cycling.

She died last Thursday at her campus residence, with her family saying she had also attempted suicide in January.

They described a high achiever in everything she did – sports, music and university – but believed recent crashes had caused depression and a personality change leading to her suicide.

Her father, Mark, said she crashed last October and broke her arm. That was followed by another fall in December, suffering concussion.

He added after the second crash she appeared to suffer a loss of control over her life and was no longer the same person.

“She was not the Kelly that we knew,” Mark Catlin said of his daughter whom he described as a ‘warrior princess’.

“She spoke like a robot. We could get her to talk, but we wondered, ‘what has happened to our Kelly?’” he added of his daughter after her cycling crashes.

“Everything was open to her, but somehow her thinking was changed and she couldn’t see beyond, I guess, her depression.

“After her concussion, she started embracing nihilism. Life was meaningless. There was no purpose.

“This was a person with depression. For her, she could no longer concentrate on her studies or train as hard.

“She couldn’t fulfill what she felt were her obligations to herself; she couldn’t live up to her own standards.

“She couldn’t realise that what she needed to do was get away and rest, heal. We were all searching for the magic words, that life was worth living.”