Mark Rypien, a former Super Bowl MVP, has had numerous mental health struggles since his football career ended and even attempted suicide.
Rypien blames the hits he took during his football career for his difficulties
Now, he is speaking out to help end the stigma around mental health.
Choking back tears, former Super Bowl MVP quarterback Mark Rypien revealed he attempted suicide in an interview with a Spokane area news network.
"I took 150 pills, with a bottle of booze," Rypien said, before crediting his wife's timely intervention with saving his life.
It's an incredibly candid, wide-ranging interview in which Rypien discusses how mental health struggles have consumed his post-football career — and places the blame on the game and the NFL.
"I've played 26 years of organized football . . . I suffer from a complex stew of mental health conditions, dark places, depression, anxiety, addictions, poor choices, poor decisions, brought about from dozens of concussions, and thousands of sub-concussive injuries, from playing this sport."
Rypien was a lead plaintiff in the massive concussion lawsuit filed against the NFL but claims he has not gotten anything from the league.
"I truly believe they're going to tie things up in court until people die," he said.
Prominent cases of NFL players with CTE
Prominent cases of NFL players with CTE
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Frank Gifford provides the classic throwing motion in his University of Southern California Trojans uniform. Following his college days, Gifford went on to star for the NFL's New York Giants, then worked as a broadcaster for CBS and ABC's Monday Night Football. (University of Southern California/Collegiate Images via Getty Images)
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EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 21: New York Jets players tackle New England Patriots player Mosi Tatupu during a game at The Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, N.J. on Sept. 21, 1987. The game was the last game before a strike in the NFL. (Photo by Bill Greene/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
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LOS ANGELES - AUGUST 1: Running back Ollie Matson #33 of the Los Angeles Rams poses for a publicity photo during training camp at Chapman Colleg on August 1, 1961 in Orange, California. (Photo by Vic Stein /Getty Images)
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SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 24: Defensive end Pete Duranko of the Denver Broncos watches from the sideline against the San Diego Chargers at San Diego Stadium on September 24, 1972 in San Diego, California. The Chargers defeated the Broncos 37-14. (Photo by James Flores/Getty Images)
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Rypien even said, albeit after a fair amount of hesitation and indecision, that if he could redo his decisions, he would have played a different sport than football.
Rypien's story should add more scrutiny to the NFL and the prevalence of concussions in football, and the adverse long-term health effects of the game. The league has struggled to address this issue, even recently introducing a new rule to prevent helmet-to-helmet hits, but it remains to be seen how officials will enforce it.
Rypien, for his part, is receiving treatment and seems to be improving, and he is coming forward to help end the stigma around mental health, as well as to encourage others who are struggling to speak out.
"Silence is a killer, and I don't wanna be another statistic," he said.
For anyone dealing with mental health struggles of their own, Rypien posted the number of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on his Twitter page.
Take it from me—no matter how strong someone appears on the outside, anyone can be struggling inside. Please reach out for help.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255