Cody Carlson, 30, of Moorhead, MN, passed away unexpectedly at home on Monday, November 8, 2021. Cody came into this world on Sunday October 13, 1991, at 1:34 p.m., weighing 6 lbs, 7 oz, & 19 1/4 inches to parents Jody Lien and Jay Carlson. He grew up in Sabin and Moorhead, later graduating from Moorhead High School in 2010. Growing up, Cody spent time working with and for his stepdad, Aric, pouring concrete and doing various duties at his catering company, Casey Jo’s Catering. He spent a lot of time at his grandparents’ Mike and Muriel’s lake home with Aric’s side of the family and all of the Canadian relatives that he loves so much.
Around the age of 8 Cody announced to his Mom that he wanted to be a Food taste tester when he grew up. Had this come to fruition, he would’ve taken his job very seriously, & been amazing at it!
Cody enjoyed playing co-ed softball with his many friends in Sabin, MN but his heart and soul was playing football for the Moorhead Spuds Football Team. He was a very hard worker and was a well-disciplined athlete. Cody was also very well known for his sense of humor, voracious appetite (‘Eat Through the Pain!’), trading insults with his closest friends, making everyone laugh, and for brightening other peoples’ days.
Cody suffered his first major concussion at the age of 14. After that concussion, and with each subsequent one, his personality and attitude changed. During his 2009 senior year season after suffering a leg injury, a back injury, and his 5th concussion during a game, his coaches would no longer allow him to play, and his doctor advised him to quit playing football in order to avoid further severe injury.
Cody was devastated. Football was his life, and after being told that he could no longer play, he was lost. He didn’t know what he was going to do. His mother discussed different options with him at length and suggested that he attend college to go into sports medicine, coaching or training, which would enable him to still be active in football. However, for Cody, those options weren’t the same; It wasn’t enough for him.
Cody began to drift off course and turned to drinking and drugs to numb the pain. He had trouble at work, with his friends, at home as well as in his relationships. He had changed.
His drinking got so out of control after he turned 21, he was hospitalized on two separate occasions for pancreatitis. He had seizures, caused by the drinking, which made his doctor suspend his driver’s license. Doctors made several recommendations for treatment and counseling, which Cody declined.
He couldn’t maintain a job or a place to live. He began to lie, cheat, and steal from those who loved him the most. Numerous conversations and tough love from family members was not enough to convince him to seek the help he needed. Due to a DWI and Driving Under Suspension, he was placed on an alcohol monitor and ordered to report to the local Police Department once a week, but that and the threat of jail time was still not enough for Cody to seek help. He had yet to find his rock bottom.
The night of September 1, 2014, his mother received the phone call that every parent dreads. The call saying that Cody was being transported to Essentia Health in Fargo, due to an overdose of Heroin laced with Fentanyl. After numerous doses of Narcan and CPR, he was brought back to life. Cody was breathing on his own for several days, until he began having uncontrollable seizures. He had to be put on Propofol to stop the seizures, and because of that medication, he also had to be put on a ventilator. After a week at Essentia Health in Fargo, he was transported by Life-Flight to the U of M in Minneapolis to undergo further testing. The tests and scans showed that he had sustained an extensive Traumatic Brain Injury due to the overdose. He stayed at the U of M until he was stable enough to move, & he was then transferred to Bethesda Hospital, where he & his Mom would spend the next 9 months.
Over the past 6 years, Cody has been at home under the care of family & nurses. We were trying very hard to get him beyond the brain injury, and he was making great progress, but sometimes God has other plans.
We always have & always will love him no matter what.
The family would like to thank all the doctors, nurses and staff at Essentia Health in Fargo, the hospitals at the UofM in Minneapolis and Bethesda in St. Paul, Frazee Care Center, Moorhead Rehab, CK and New Dimensions Home Health, and Rural Psychiatry Associates.
Cody’s brain was donated to the Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) Center at Boston University School of Medicine to advance research for future generations.
Cody is survived by his mother, Jody (Russell Wolf) Lien and father, Jay Carlson; stepfather Aric (Markell) Saign, siblings, Shelby (Ry) Ring, TJ, Ashley and Jade Carlson, Ali Saign, Samantha Knudson, CheyAnn, Shelby, Weylin and Darby Wolf; grandparents, Wayne (Corinne) Lien, Mary Ward, Robert (Deb) Carlson; Michael and Muriel Saign, great- grandmother, Olive Lien; aunts and uncles, John Gomez (Terri Hart) Brent Bohner, Lori Bohner, Eric (Jody) Lien, Nathan (Kristi) Lien; his local cousins, Haily, Graham, Nora, Evan, Mathias, as well as his beloved Canadian cousins.
He was preceded in death by his aunt Jennifer Jacobson; great-grandparents, Norman Lien, and Arnold and Bernadette Paschke; great-great grandparents, Magdelina Miller, and Gordon and Violet Kringler.
Visitation will be Saturday, November 13, from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m., followed by the memorial service at 1:00 p.m., in Wright Funeral Home, Moorhead, MN.