The parents of Tyler Hilinski announced Tuesday during an interview on NBC'S TODAY show that their son had the degenerative brain condition chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) when he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head in January.
Mark and Kym Hilinski said the Mayo Clinic conducted Tyler's autopsy and found that he suffered from Stage 1 CTE. A study published a year ago in the Journal of the American Medical Association found CTE in the brains of 99 percent of NFL players and 91 percent of college football players who were examined.
"It was a shock to get those results and to find out that he had it and to realize that the sport he loved may have contributed to that diagnosis", Kym said.
Tyler Hillinski played high school football at Upland and was expected to contend for the starting job at Washington State this fall. Did we get CTE from playing football? The documentary centers around the Hilinski family searching for answers into what exactly caused his death, and if their son having CTE contributing to his suicide.
Tyler's parents also participated in a lengthy feature documentary with Greg Bishop of Sports Illustrated; the story is tough emotionally but absolutely worth your time. We may never know the reason why Ty did what he did but we know how we can continue to make him happy even when he's not here.More news: Brazil ties Switzerland in World Cup opener
More news: 10 supermarket staples set to become more expensive with new European Union tariffs
More news: Disney CEO Bob Iger Comments On The Need For The Fox Deal
"The medical examiner said he had the brain of a 65-year-old, which is really hard to take", Mark Hilinski said. "I don't think so", his mother told the filmmakers. Evidence of CTE had previously been found in football players ages 17, 18, 20 and 21. After failing to report for offseason practice, the Washington State quarterback's body was discovered at his home.
There were no verbal signs that the young football player was suffering.
Tyler's brother, Ryan, is also a talented quarterback and has committed to play at SC in 2019. Ryan Hilinski was noted as a star quarterback at his high school in California and is set to play at the University of SC with the support of his parents.
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". "They need it. There's not enough out there".