Late Washington State QB Who Committed Suicide Diagnosed With CTE

Former Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski, a 21-year-old who killed himself, has been diagnosed with CTE. Mark Hilinski, Tyler’s father, said that the medical examiner said his 21-year-old son “had the brain of a 65-year-old.”
On Tuesday, January 16, 2018, Hilinski did not show up for practice and was later found in his apartment with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head,. A spokesman for the Pullman Police Department said officers found Hilinski dead at his apartment north of the Washington State University campus around 4:30 p.m.
A rifle and a suicide note were reportedly found next to his body. While Tyler’s parents have not publicly revealed the contents of the note, they say it offered “no explanation, no I love you, no goodbye.”
Following an examination of his brain, Hilinski — a 21-year-old who only appeared in 11 college football games — was diagnosed with Stage 1 CTE.
The family has since started Hilinski’s Hoe Foundation, which is a non-profit organization designed to “promote awareness and education of mental health for student-athletes—making bracelets, coffee mugs, water bottles and dog tags all stamped with 3 and the number for the national suicide prevention hotline.”
via SI:

First, the Whitman County medical examiner called to say that Tyler’s toxicology report showed no trace of drugs or alcohol. (“That actually made it worse,” Mark says.) The Mayo Clinic’s findings arrived next. Kym read the sentence—“After reviewing the tissue we can confirm that he had the pathology of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)”—and started to reconsider her entire search.
The diagnosis was Stage 1, the lowest level. But still, Tyler was 21 when he died, he hadn’t played that much in college and for most of his life he manned the most protected of positions. If he had CTE, anyone could. She read that depression was one symptom for Stage 1 and a doctor told her Tyler’s brain looked “like that of a much older, elderly man.”
She didn’t want to blame football—to be clear: she does not blame football—and yet the diagnosis also gave her family its clearest and, in some ways, only known factor in his death. “It helped us to know,” Kelly says, “that a) there was something wrong and b) that he was hurting and we couldn’t understand it. It was, O.K., we have a legitimate why. That’s enough of that.”

You can read the full heartwrenching account of Hilinski’s unfortunate passing at Sports Illustrated.


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