WSU quarterback Tyler Hilinski had brain disease CTE, family says

28 June 2018, 01:01 | Kristine Mills

Parents of former Washington State QB Tyler Hilinski say autopsy shows signs of CTE

Tyler Hilinski's Parents Say QB Had CTE, Brain of 65-Year-Old at Time of Death

Hilinski was just 21 years old when he was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after not showing up for practice on January 16.

"It was a shock to get those results and find out that he had it, and to realize that this sport that he loved may have contributed to that diagnosis", said Kym Hilinski, Tyler's mother. Did we get CTE from playing football? Probably. Was that the only thing that contributed to this death? Kym said in the documentary.

Mark Hilinski told "TODAY" that the medical examiner determined Tyler "had the brain of a 65-year-old".

Kym Hilinski said they were shocked and numb after finding out that he had shot himself.

The VA Boston Healthcare System and Boston University School of Medicine conducted a study of the brains of 202 deceased American football players a year ago that showed 87 percent of the players had CTE. I don't think so. Sensing some distress in his younger brother-who also mentioned sustaining a hit that had "rocked" him-Kelly sent the rest of the family text messages saying Tyler was having trouble putting the defeat behind him.

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The SI story and documentary offer intimate portraits of a family's search for answers as it processes unfathomable grief.

Tyler Hilinski threw for 1,176 yards and seven touchdowns last year as Washington State's back-up quarterback last year, including 509 yards while subbing for injured starter Luke Falk in a loss to Arizona.

"There weren't really any verbal signs from Tyler to us or to anybody at Washington State that he was suffering". "So I have to do what most moms do and just hide what I feel".

Washington State said in a statement to "Today" that it has enhanced its protocols for football players, including a second formal mental health screening and meetings with players "who might be at risk for mental health issues". Through their non-profit, the Hilinski's Hope Foundation, Kym and Mark will promote awareness and education of mental health and wellness for student-athletes. "There's not enough out there for these handsome athletes that give of themselves to their colleges, but their minds aren't taken care of".



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