Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Wilmington Sharks address mental health for student-athletes

Addressing Mental Health in College Sports

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – The Wilmington Sharks took an important step on Sunday, July 23, to address mental health. They partnered with Mark and Kym Hilinski, two of the biggest advocates for ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues in college sports.

A Tragic Loss

Mark and Kym Hilinski are parents who experienced an unimaginable loss. Their son Tyler, a quarterback at Washington State, took his own life in 2018.

An Unnoticed Struggle

Tyler’s tragic death came as a shock to his parents. They had no clue he was struggling, and in the aftermath of his passing, they discovered that no one else did either.

Spreading Awareness and Hope

While searching for answers, Mark and Kym introduced bracelets with the words “Hilinski’s Hope” as a message of support for college athletes. These bracelets became widely known, and Mark and Kym now travel across the country to share Tyler’s story and remind young adults that they are not alone in their feelings.

The Power of “Tyler Talks”

Mark and Kym refer to their motivational talks as “Tyler Talks.” They emphasize the importance of reaching out and speaking up about mental health struggles. Tyler’s silence and subsequent tragedy have highlighted the need for open discussions.

A Masked Struggle

Tyler was known as one of the happiest kids, and his struggle was rarely visible. He loved being on the field and appeared happy and excited. This contradiction underscores the importance of understanding that anyone can be silently suffering.

Channeling Grief into Advocacy

Following Tyler’s passing and the unanswered questions surrounding his suicide, Mark and Kym dedicated themselves to spreading awareness about mental health issues in college sports. They aim to reduce the stigma associated with seeking help and support.

A Life-Altering Loss

Losing Tyler has changed everything for Mark and Kym. Sharing their emotional story is difficult, but they believe it is essential to show others that discussing these subjects is acceptable.

Caring for Each Other

The Hilinski family remains vigilant in looking out for one another, especially their youngest son, Ryan, who is currently a college athlete. The added worry and concern weigh heavily on them, but they strive to find happiness and be present for their other sons.

Preventing Another Tragedy

Every action taken by the Hilinskis is driven by their desire to ensure that no other family loses a loved one like they did. They are determined to make a difference and raise awareness about mental health.

In Conclusion

By partnering with the Wilmington Sharks and sharing Tyler’s story, Mark and Kym Hilinski are working tirelessly to create a world where mental health is prioritized, stigma is erased, and no more lives are lost.

Copyright 2023 WECT. All rights reserved.

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