By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Former Washington State Cougars quarterback Tyler Hilinski committed suicide. According to ESPN via the Hilinski parents, their son had CTE in his brain.
The parents said an autopsy, which was performed on their son following his January suicide showed that he had chronic traumatic encephalophy. CTE has been a hot topic in football the past several years.
During an NBC’s Today show appearance, Mark and Kym Hilinski said that the autopsy was conducted after his Jan. 16th death in Pullman, Washington. He was 21-years-old, and died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, according to the authorities.
The authorities said he used a .223 caliber rifle, which was licensed to a former teammate. The autopsy showed that he had Stage 1 CTE.
“Did football kill Tyler? I don’t think so,” Kym Hilinski said in a Sports Illustrated documentary. “Did he get CTE from [playing] football? Probably. Was that the only thing that contributed to his death? I don’t know.”
According to Mark, who said his son “had the brain of a 65-year-old, which is really hard to take.” Hilinski was projected to be the Cougars starting quarterback this season before his death.
His parents said that he showed no signs before his suicide. They also said that he never fired a gun before his death.
While they said he showed no shows, the parents told Sports Illustrated that he was less responsive to calls and text messages late last year. In addition, they said it continued after a family vacation to Mexico in January.
According to a statement provided to the Today show by Washington State, they said they enhanced their protocols for the football players, including a second formal mental health screening. They said they would meet “[with players] who might be at risk for mental health issues.”
Since his death, his family has started the Hilinski’s Hope Foundation. This foundation will help schools “better support athletes dealing with mental illness.”
“People need to keep talking about suicide and mental illness and mental health,” Kym said on the show. “We need to erase the stigma. … There’s not enough out there for these beautiful athletes that give of themselves to their colleges, but their minds aren’t taken care of.”
Ryan Hilinski, Tyler’s young brother, committed to play at South Carolina in 2019. He also admitted that the autopsy results “scared me a little bit,” but he will continue to play.
“I’m all bought into football, of course,” Ryan said. “And I think Tyler would want me to do the same thing. I don’t think he’d want me to stop.”
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