Washington State QB Tyler Hilinski found to have CTE after suicide |
U.S./World Sports

Washington State QB Tyler Hilinski found to have CTE after suicide

Matt Rosenberg
Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski runs onto the field before a college football game against Idaho in Pullman, Wash.

At 21 and a big-college quarterback, Tyler Hilinski was living with a damaged brain.

The parents of the Washington State quarterback, who shot himself in the head with a .223 caliber rifle in his apartment on Jan. 16, revealed Tuesday in an interview with NBC’s “Today” that Hilinski had CTE, a degenerative brain condition.

Mark and Kym Hilinski spoke with NBC about a Sports Illustrated documentary which will reflect on what happened to Tyler, who medical examiners said had the brain of a 65-year-old.

“(That’s) really hard to take,” Mark Hilinski said. “He was the sweetest, most outgoing, giving kid. That was difficult to hear.”

Kym Hilinski says Tyler never had shot a gun until the day before the killed himself. He had taken the rifle he used to shoot himself from a teammate a few days earlier.

The morning he killed himself, his parents say, Tyler had been last seen dropping off a teammate at class in the morning. Two teammates went looking for him after he didn’t show up to practice and found his body in his apartment.

In the Sports Illustrated documentary, Kym says: “I remember being like kind of numb because you don’t think your son is gonna die and you certainly don’t think he’s going to kill himself.”

A Mayo Clinic report on Tyler’s brain came back positive for CTE, which one study found was in the brains of 99 percent of 202 deceased NFL players.

Mark and Kym starting Hilinski’s Hope, a non-profit aimed at promotion awareness and education of mental health and wellness for student-athletes.

“People need to keep talking about suicide and mental illness and mental health, and we need to erase the stigma,” Kym told NBC. “What we’re trying to do for student athletes is were trying to fund programs that support them and their mental health.”

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