It has now been revealed that former Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) at the time of his suicide in January.
Tyler’s parents went on NBC Tuesday morning and gave an emotional interview about their son and the results of the tests on his brain.
“It was a shock to get those results and find out that he had [CTE] and to realize that the sport that he loved may have contributed to that diagnosis,” Tyler’s mother Kym told NBC.
His father Mark added, “The medical examiner said he had the brain of a 65-year-old, which is really hard to take. He was the sweetest, most outgoing, giving kid. That was difficult to hear.”
The WSU QB was found dead on a late January night in one of the most shocking and heartbreaking stories we’ve had in the sports community in a very long time. (RELATED: WASHINGTON STATE QUARTERBACK FOUND DEAD AFTER APPARENT SUICIDE)
Waking up to the awful Tyler Hilinski news. One of the things we can all do to honor his memory and save more lives is to break down the stigma around mental health. There is still a long way to go. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there. pic.twitter.com/GKurM3C6ow
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) January 17, 2018
I’m not a doctor, and I have no answer to the problem of CTE in football. I do know, however, that the disease is absolutely out of control. It’s tragic that young men’s lives are altered forever and sometimes just straight-up ruined from the sport. One shocking study showed that 99 percent of deceased NFL players studied had the disease. Those numbers are mind-boggling.
The death of Tyler Hilinski is also another reminder that we don’t always know what’s going on behind the scenes. Most people’s connection to athletes is through a television. Many people just assume sports stars must be living an incredible life with no downside. Obviously, that’s not always the case.
My prayers are with Tyler’s family and the family of everybody else affected by CTE. I don’t know what the answer is, but something needs to be done before we lose more men.