Beechwood High remembers Mason Bushelman, freshman who died after seizure

Football player with rare epilepsy inspired others
Posted at 11:40 AM, Dec 30, 2016
and last updated 2017-01-03 17:42:55-05

FORT MITCHELL, Ky. -- If there was one thing to know about 16-year-old Mason Bushelman, his family says it's that he had a huge heart and a contagious smile.

"He would do anything and everything for everyone he met," his sister, Morgan, told WCPO on Friday.

Tearful members of the Beechwood High community bundled up in school colors Friday night and joined hands as they held a vigil for Mason, a football player who coaches and teachers remembered as an inspiration to all. Mason died Thursday night from complications of a seizure.

Family and friends say Mason loved being a part of the Beechwood community, and the community loved him.

Mason and sister Morgan

"He was the star of the show wherever he went," said another sister, Maggie. "He just always wanted to have fun and have a good time and be a part of everything."

Mason had a profound impact on many, especially the football team, said freshman coach Chris Derry. Mason's fighting and kind spirit changed the team, Derry said.

"That was the thing that was unique -- not only did the football team help Mason, Mason helped the football team, and I think that also carried over into the personal life, too," Derry said.

"He made me part of who I am today," said senior wide receiver Daniel Mescher, who tutored Mason on and off the field.

Mason would always be the one motivating others even though he was fighting a battle of his own. He struggled with Dravet Syndrome, a rare, severe form of epilepsy.

Mason (32) acts as cheerleader at state championship game

Maggie said she and their mom, retired judge Lisa Osborne Bushelman, are epileptic, too.

"(Dravet Syndrome is) a catastrophic seizure disorder that includes a gene mutation that both me and my mom have as well, and we also are epileptic - just not as severe as Mason was," Maggie said.

Mason's family said he would have hour-long seizures about once a month, but he functioned at a high level. He played football with only minor accommodations. Coaches limited his contact in practice, but that's all.

Even after seizures, Mason would still make it to practice, Derry said.

"He did the weight and conditioning program and did the strength training and participated as any young boy would do," the coach said.

Mescher said Mason reminded him of how strong the human spirit can be.

"He taught me how to be a good friend. He taught me how to be a good teammate," Mescher said.

One of Mason's teachers, Tracy Barth, said he was so supportive to everyone. Mason stood on the sidelines at the Beechwood varsity's state championship game and led the cheering section.

"On our way back from trips he would make us sing the Beechwood fight song every time we hit Beechwood Road," Barth said.


"He would just want everyone to be happy and wouldn't want anybody to be down about his death," said Mescher.

"I'm just going to miss him so much."

Visitation will be Tuesday, Jan. 3 at Beechwood HS from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. The funeral mass will be Wednesday, Jan. 4 at 10 a.m. at Blessed Sacrament Church.