WSU Cougars now focus on healing after death of quarterback Tyler Hilinski

The Hilinskis hope that in the long run, their son’s death will open a dialogue about the importance of mental health, and how colleges can best support their students in that regard, and eliminate any stigma around the subject.

PULLMAN – The parents of Tyler Hilinski stood before the Washington State football team at the football facility on Thursday afternoon, looking around at their son’s distraught teammates.

Hilinski, WSU’s sophomore quarterback, was known to all as a cheerful, easygoing and outgoing guy. He had a voracious appetite — among his favorites, pepperoni and bacon pizza and, chicken wings from South Fork — was always quick to crack a joke and was popular in the locker room. The 21-year-old came from a tight-knit family that just vacationed together in Cabo before the semester started at WSU.

And Tyler had come back to school knowing that with Luke Falk gone, he was the mostly likely candidate to win the starting quarterback job once spring practice began.

But everything changed Tuesday afternoon, when Tyler was found dead in his apartment from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

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Two days later, Tyler’s parents, Mark and Kym stood in front of his teammates at a meeting they had requested.

They spoke to the team, then hugged every single player. And they did it because they want the healing to begin.

Mark and Kym Hilinski declined to personally speak to The Seattle Times this week because they didn’t feel quite ready. However, they authorized the moms of several Cougars players to speak on their behalf.

Ultimately, this is the message Kym Hilinski wants to deliver: “She doesn’t want Tyler’s death to be in vain,” said Jill Osur-Myers, the mother of WSU offensive lineman Noah Osur-Myers, and the co-founder of CougFam, the Cougar football family association that was…

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