Hilinski was a promising quarterback for the Cougars and was barely two weeks removed from his junior season when police say he shot himself in the head January 16.
Speaking on NBC's "Today,", Hilinski's parents, Mark and Kym, revealed their son had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) at the time of his death. 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.
"I don't think so", Kym Hilinski said in a Sports Illustrated documentary about Tyler's life.
Tyler Hillinski played high school football at Upland and was expected to contend for the starting job at Washington State this fall. Did he get CTE from 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. "I don't think so", Kym Hilinski told Sports Illustrated in a separate interview. "We wanted to know everything we could, find out everything we could, so of course we immediately we said sure", he said of the Clinic's request.
"The medical examiner said he had the brain of a 65-year-old", her husband, Mark, said. "I don't think he'd want me to stop". But still, Tyler had been just 21, he hadn't played that much in college and for most of his life he manned the most protected of positions.
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. "And to realize that the sport that he loved may have contributed to that diagnosis". Ryan Hilinski will be a high school senior next season and has committed to play quarterback for SC in 2019.
This is heartbreaking, I still can't get past that visceral feeling of anger. They've created a nonprofit called the Hilinski's Hope Foundation.
In the wake of the findings, the Washington State University Athletics Department released a statement reiterating their commitment to the mental health of the university's collegiate athletes. "They need it. There's not enough out there".