Psychologist: Mental pressure, expectations take toll on young a - KPTV - FOX 12

Psychologist: Mental pressure, expectations take toll on young athletes

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Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski looks for a receiver during the second half of WSU’s game against Arizona in Pullman, Wash., Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016. Authorities said Hilinski took his own life on Tue. Jan. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Young Kwak) Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski looks for a receiver during the second half of WSU’s game against Arizona in Pullman, Wash., Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016. Authorities said Hilinski took his own life on Tue. Jan. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Fans, teammates, coaches and fellow students are mourning the loss of Washington State University football player Tyler Hilinski after authorities said he took his own life Tuesday.

The news of Hilinski’s death came as a shock after the 21-year-old started at quarterback for the Cougars 2017 Holiday Bowl game and was expected to be named as the starter for the upcoming season.

Psychologist Robin Henderson told FOX 12 that while she didn't know Hilinski or his specific circumstances, depression can be a challenge for student-athletes.

Henderson, who is also the chief executive of Providence Behavioral Health, explained that there are a lot of expectations to be perfect and to be role models, especially amongst Pac-12 teams.

She also said even though coaches and players are tight-knit, they aren't given the coping tools to deal with disappointment after a loss.

“We're good at rehabbing knees. Are we good at rehabbing minds?” Henderson said. “Most of these kids, 98 percent of them, will never make it to the NFL, and yet all their lives, this is what they've known, this is what they've trained for, this is what they’ve done.”

Henderson added that the expectations young athletes face can put a toll on young athletes, especially since young adult brains aren't fully developed until they are in their mid-20s.

For anyone struggling with depression, there is help out there. Lines For Life has a free 24-hour helpline available at 800-273-8255. You can also text 273TALK to 839863.

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