The parents of Tyler Hillinski said that an autopsy revealed that the Washington State quarterback had chronic traumatic encephalopathy at the time of his suicide in January.
The type of extensive brain damage commonly known as CTE has been found in more than 100 former professional football players and can only be determined through an autopsy. Hillinski is only the second active football player known to have had CTE at the time of his death.
“It was a shock, to get those results and to find out that he had it,” his mother, Kym Hillinski, said Tuesday on NBC’s “Today” show. “And to realize that the sport that he loved may have contributed to that diagnosis.”
Tyler Hillinski played high school football at Upland and was expected to contend for the starting job at Washington State this fall. On Jan. 16, he was found dead in his apartment near campus from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. His death was later ruled a suicide.
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Important note: If you or a loved one is feeling distressed, please remember help is available through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. It provides free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also call a loved one, member of the clergy or 911.