Aaron Douglas was a huge man with a huge heart. Funny, goofy, loving and caring, Aaron was always looking out for his friends. Standing at a height of 6’7”, he was truly a gentle giant.
He was the first born of Karla and David Douglas, and big brother to sister, Ashley Jane. He was also an amazing and talented athlete, as well as an artist and musician. Aaron Douglas was one of those rare people that could humbly excel at most anything he attempted.
In high school, he was a star athlete in both basketball and football. His main focus was not on himself. It was on his team. He would do anything to not let his team down, even if that meant finishing out his senior season with a painful torn labrum in his shoulder.
College was just as successful for Aaron. His freshman year at UT earned him a Freshman All American and All SEC title. He played for Western Arizona and had signed to play at the University of Alabama. His family couldn’t have been more proud or excited for their son. He was making a change.
But there was one thing he couldn’t do. He couldn’t beat the chains of addiction and depression. His journey with both began in high school where he experimented with marijuana and alcohol. The pain pills started after his major shoulder surgery in the summer after his senior year.
He first tested positive for drugs at The University of Tennessee. His family confronted him. He asked for help. No one knew the extent of his addiction. But both he and his family thought they had it under control.
That’s the thing about addiction. It’s dark and it’s lonely. And it’s easy to hide.
So if a young man who comes from an amazing family, who possesses outstanding talents, who has tremendous support and love from an entire community can become addicted to pain pills, then none of us should take for granted that someone we love isn’t going through the same thing.
Aaron Douglas, who was just weeks away from starting at UA, was found dead on a balcony in Florida. Alone and with no one he knew, he overdosed on methadone pills he purchased from his cab driver. Needless to say, it was a horrific event for his entire family, friends and teammates.
But his Celebration of Life was a beautiful testament to the man Aaron had become. Hundreds of people turned out for his funeral, including the entire Alabama football team. A portion of his ashes were spread on Alabama’s practice fields.
Through the AD Foundation, Aaron once again has a voice. And we are working on making sure his voice is heard. To encourage, empower and educate young people on the dangers of opiates to help save one person, one family and one future - this is our mission.
"We were told he was not an addict. So what's the difference between an addict and a user and abuser?"» See all testimonials