Southfield (CW50) –Athletes around the world are seen as people born with a talent for mental and physical toughness. These traits are certainly common amongst athletes, this doesn’t mean these men and women don’t face mental challenges in their lives.

Community Connect Host Jackie Paige, with Former Detroit Lions Quarterback Eric Hipple

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Former Detroit Lions Quarterback, Eric Hipple, joins Jackie Paige on Community Connect to talk about his son’s story and how it led him to a life of advocacy for mental health.

Hipple spent nearly a decade in the NFL. The expectations that come with being a starting quarterback in professional football are no small part of an athletes career, and those expectations can have an impact on their mental health. Hipple experienced challenges in his career from an injury which kept him out for an entire season and a few years later had been cut from the Lions. These led Hipple down a path of self-medication, altercations with police, and a state of depression.

Jeff Hipple, son of Former Detroit Lions Quarterback Eric Hipple (Courtesy of Eric Hipple)

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The challenges he faced in the league were not the only ones he faced though. In 2000, Hipple lost his 15-year-old son to suicide. He has discussed the seeing the similarities in his own symptoms of depression to what his son had experienced in his life. The loss of his son moved Hipple’s life in a direction toward helping others and educating people on the dangers of depression. He as also used his own story to help break the stigma behind mental illness and show that these illnesses can affect anyone, even star athletes.

Former Detroit Lions Quarterback Eric Hipple (Courtesy of Eric Hipple)

In 2008, Hipple wrote a book titled Real Men Do Cry, a book focused on his career, his own mental heath struggles, and detailing the warning signs of depression in teens and young adults.

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