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Jason Hairston (July 17, 1971 – September 4, 2018) was an American businessman and American football player who played in the National Football League. He was the founder and CEO of Kuiu, a hunting gear company.

Hairston grew up in Southern California. In high school, he was an All-Orange County defender at Foothill High School. He attended the University of California, Davis and, in 1993, was named a starting linebacker for UC Davis Aggies football. In his junior season, he broke his neck during a Division II playoff game, damaging his C5 and C6 vertebrae. In 1995, he was signed as an unrestricted free agent to the San Francisco 49ers. After a year with the team, he transferred to the Denver Broncos before retiring in 1996.[1]

Hairston was then a commercial real estate agent and founded the hunting gear company Sitka in 2005. He sold the company to Gore-Tex in 2009.[2] In 2010, he founded Kuiu,[3] which had expected sales of $50 million in 2016.[1][4]

Hairston was friends with Donald Trump Jr. and in March 2017 accepted a position as liaison to the United States Department of the Interior and hunting groups on conservation and public lands issues.[5] He and his wife Kirstyn had two children. He was found dead at his home in Dixon, California, on September 4, 2018, later announced to be from suicide.[6][7]

Postmortem investigations of his brain by the neuropathologist Bennett Omalu revealed that he had suffered from Chronic traumatic encephalopathy[8]

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Erk, Andy (August 12, 2016). "Former NFL player Jason Hairston sits atop hunting gear business". Sports Illustrated. https://www.si.com/nfl/2016/08/02/former-nfl-player-jason-hairston-kuiu-hunting-gear-company.
  2. Wisner, Matthew (December 9, 2016). "Jason Hairston on Going From NFL to 'Gucci of Hunting'". Fox Business. http://www.foxbusiness.com/features/2016/12/09/jason-hairston-on-going-from-nfl-to-gucci-hunting.html.
  3. Siler, Wes (February 28, 2017). "Why Your Next Hiking Boot Might Be Designed for Hunters" (in en). Outside Online. https://www.outsideonline.com/2160446/why-your-next-hiking-boot-might-be-designed-hunting.
  4. Stock, Kyle (February 9, 2016). "A Camouflage Clothing Line Wants to Be Lululemon for Hunters". Bloomberg Businessweek. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-02-09/killing-it.
  5. Whieldon, Esther (March 17, 2017). "Donald Trump Jr. taps hunting pal for Interior liaison". Politico. http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/jason-hairston-interior-donald-trump-jr-236166.
  6. Robertson, Michelle (September 6, 2018). "Jason Hairston, former 49ers linebacker and hunting gear mogul, dies at 47". San Francisco Chroncle. https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Jason-Hairston-hunting-trump-dead-49ers-davis-kuiu-13210381.php. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  7. Davidson, Joe (September 6, 2018). "Jason Hairston, KUIU hunting gear CEO and former UC Davis football star, has died". Sacramento Bee. https://www.sacbee.com/sports/outdoors/article217920125.html. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  8. Branch, John (January 31, 2019). "Was C.T.E. Stealing His Mind? A Gunshot Provided the Answer". New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/31/sports/cte-football-hairston-super-bowl.html?action=click&module=Editors%20Picks&pgtype=Homepage. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
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