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A ‘whirlwind’ from the start: The Hilinski family’s experience watching Ryan’s Year 1

August 5, 2020

Kym Hilinski was cleaning out a drawer in her family’s house when she found it.

It was a set of goals. Her son, Ryan, writes them out before each football season. When this set was compiled, he was just embarking on his first college season at the University of South Carolina, competing for a backup spot behind a fourth-year starter.

“One of his goals was to see the field,” Kym Hilinski said. “He said, ‘Well, I definitely saw the field.’”

These days feel a long way from when she joked about hoping, as a mom, that he could go be safe and through a career with four redshirt seasons at South Carolina. Then the starter, Jake Bentley, made it to the end of the first game of 2019 before breaking a bone in his foot.

It set off a whirlwind of a weekend and thrust Ryan Hilinski, a true freshman, into the starting lineup. Hilinski himself ending up dealing with multiple injuries. And his parents were there, guiding and supporting him though a season where he got an unexpected chance and suddenly had a whole lot on his plate.

They’d come across the country from California for a new beginning, and so much came so quickly. Looking back, it was a crucible of sorts. They learned and came through as a family who had already been through a great deal of taking on so much of the unexpected.

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Photo Caption:
Mark and Kym Hilinski bought a house on Lake Murray so they could be close to their sons, USC freshman quarterback Ryan Hilinski, pictured, and Kelly Hilinski who lives in Irmo. The Hilinski family is adjusting to life after the suicide of Tyler Hilinski who killed himself while a quarterback at Washington State. 7/3/19  [email protected]

HCA: Hilinski’s Hope Foundation named recipient of Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Award

June 16, 2020

The award is a part of the Sports Humanitarian Awards

When Tyler Hilinski passed away in January of 2018 his parents Mark and Kym set out to create an organization that would raise mental health awareness for student-athletes. The Hilinski’s Hope Foundation has raised more than half a million dollars towards creating mental wellness programs for student-athletes across the country and on Sunday evening it was announced by ESPN that Hilinski’s Hope was one of the recipients of the Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Award.

to show ESPN Tweet about the award

The award was created in honor of former ESPN anchor Stuart Scott who battled cancer until his passing in 2015. According to ESPN, the award “celebrates people that have taken risk and used an innovative approach to helping the disadvantaged through the power of sports.” It goes on to say that those who are given the award will “personify the ethos of fairness, ethics, respect, and fellowship with others.”

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Photo Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Hilinski’s Hope Announces ‘3Day’ and Inaugural College Football Mental Health Awareness Week

June 2, 2020

The Hilinski’s Hope Foundation launched Tuesday a call-to-action for colleges to participate in the inaugural College Football Mental Health Awareness Week in October.

The week will kick off on Saturday Oct. 3–known as “3Day.” Seven SEC universities have agreed to participate in helping increase schools’ mental health resources, eliminate stigma and honor victims of mental illness, such as late Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski.

Hilinski, who wore No. 3, died by suicide in January 2018, and doctors diagnosed him with Stage 1 CTE after his death. His parents, Mark and Kim Hilinski, founded Hilinski’s Hope to honor his legacy. Sports Illustrated‘s Greg Bishop previously chronicled the Hilinski family’s search for answers in the aftermath of the tragedy and how they find hope in their foundation’s work.

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David E. Klutho/Sports Illustrated

Hilinski’s Hope announces ‘3DAY’ to kick off College Football Mental Health Awareness Week

June 2, 2020

Hilinski’s Hope announces ‘3DAY’ to kick off College Football Mental Health Awareness Week

The Hilinski’s Hope Foundation announced plans Tuesday to engage programs across the country to use the games of Saturday, Oct. 3, to kick off College Football Mental Health Awareness Week.

Seven SEC universities already have agreed to participate in “3DAY” with a goal to increase resources devoted to mental fitness, decrease stigma and honor the victims of mental illness, such as Tyler Hilinski, the Washington State quarterback who wore No. 3 and died by suicide in January 2018.

Tyler’s parents, Mark and Kym Hilinski, created Hilinski’s Hope after Tyler’s death. Among the seven SEC programs that will participate is South Carolina, where the starting quarterback, sophomore Ryan Hilinski, is Tyler’s younger brother.

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Ivan Maisel

ESPN Senior Writer

As family of Tyler Hilinski grieves, an ESPN writer shares in its sorrow

May 22, 2020

The Mark and Kym Hilinski who will appear on Outside the Lines on Friday (SportsCenter on ESPN at noon ET) have made a long journey since I profiled them in September 2018. They continue to grieve Tyler, their middle son, the Washington State quarterback who died by suicide in January of that year. But their grief is no longer so raw, the pain and hurt and bewilderment no longer so plain on their faces. Time, nature’s plastic surgery, is performing its healing and cosmetic tasks.

They are healing; they never will be healed. But time is undefeated, relentless in its insistence that life continue, no matter what or whom we have lost. The Hilinskis didn’t just move on. They moved — from Orange County to South Carolina, three time zones and 2,400 miles. It sounds hollow to say they moved there to watch their youngest son, Ryan, play quarterback for the University of South Carolina. They moved together, as a family — Mark, Kym and their son Kelly — to support Ryan. But that support runs in both directions. The best tonic for the four of them is to remain physically close.

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Ivan Maisel

ESPN Senior Writer

Photo;  AP Photo/Chris Carlson