Mark Rypien said he attempted suicide, suffers from depression

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Mark Rypien is a former Super Bowl MVP and went 52-34 in his 11-year NFL career. The former quarterback’s life off the field has not gone as swimmingly, and Rypien wonders whether multiple concussions in football played a part.

“People think you have to be knocked out to have a concussion,” Rypien told The Spokesman-Review, via the Associated Press. “There are hundreds of times you shake it off and get back in there. It’s all about the cumulative hits. That’s what cause brain damage.”

Rypien, 55, said he has attempted suicide and suffers from persistent depression, anxiety and isolation. He once left a 20-minute audio suicide message, he said, and another time his wife, Danielle, found Rypien after he swallowed 150 Advil with a bottle of wine.

“It was the thought that people aren’t going to miss me,” Rypien said. “I was shameful and guilty of poor decisions, shameful and guilty of being depressed all the time. I didn’t want to be around anymore.”

Rypien, who spent six seasons with Washington, hopes his story helps others.

“My story is impactful because people see me in a different light. I want them to see me in an accurate light,” Rypien said. “I’ve been down the darkest path. I’ve made some horrible, horrible mistakes. But I’ve given myself a chance to progress forward.”

30 responses to “Mark Rypien said he attempted suicide, suffers from depression

  1. It’s possible concussions may have led to these problems Rypien has had and I’m praying for him, but the idea that his football career is the cause is pure speculation. Sadly, there are millions of people going through the same thing who never played football in their lives. It’s too easy to blame concussions for every problem a former football player has.

  2. As someone who’s fought the same demon’s Mark’s talking about, I definitely know what he’s been through and sympathize. I’m glad he’s getting the help he needs.

    The one caveat is – don’t assume that your concussions caused the depression. Too many people have it that never have been concussed. Once you blame something like that for depression, you stop looking for the behavior/reasons/thinking that is causing it.

    Continue to take care, get the help you need, keep fighting.

  3. Rypien played when QBs still got hit. So he took some hits. I feel bad for him as I would anyone who is contemplating or attempting suicide, and I hope that he can overcome this. I don’t assume concussions/CTE caused the depression, but it can’t be ruled out either. Either way, I wish him luck in his fight – and hope he wins. That’s no way to live.

  4. Thanks, Mark, for being a wonderful Washington Redskins’ QB – you were the last one we had that made an impact. And then we have endured Lil Napoleon Snyder as an owner and he hires people who are clueless with personnel decisions – and when he makes a mistake and hires competence like GM Scot, he fires them.

    I hope you are able to get some help for these issues, Mark!

  5. It’s strange that the article wouldn’t mention his cousin Rick, an NHL player and enforcer who committed suicide in 2011. He had battled severe depression for years up until that point. I don’t know how many concussions he was diagnosed with , but given the number of fights he’d had in his career, I’d be willing to bet that a few went undiagnosed.

  6. Yeah concussions may be part of it, and it’s the buzz word of the year.

    However, these pro athletes, scouted since early teens, success in high school and college, having everyone idol them, never having normal teenage years, then pushed into millions of dollars and the pressure but also the extreme lifestyle of a pro athlete, where again, you’re treated like royalty…then it all comes crashing down when you’re not good enough as a football player anymore.

    No one idolizes you, no one worshipping the ground you walk on anymore, no job or hobby to keep your mind occupied. As mentioned, lack of growing up properly since you were 14,so unable to handle social situations and so on. All you have is just money, if you’re lucky and a star, and time…but no idea or plan on what to do because it’s all been laid out for you for the last 15 years or so and everyone’s done it for you. Idle time leads in all sorts of directions.

    Hopefully he gets better but there is a post pro athlete component that plays a large factor here, and the development of a normal day to day life was stunted as a teenager through to 30 years old.

  7. “I was shameful and guilty of POOR DECISIONS”… People need to stop blaming football for their “POOR DECISIONS”. Plenty of people, myself included, who have been concussed (and knocked out) are not using it as an excuse for suicidal thoughts and depression. Leave the game out of it and take accountability for your “POOR DECISIONS”.

  8. and we cheer when a boxer or cage fighter gets knocked out. so much for all this concussion stuff in the nfl.

  9. I’m sorry about his troubles, but this whole concussion deal is becoming like global warming. It’s the convenient thing to blame for everything.

  10. I wouldn’t dismiss the idea that head trauma is related to his suicidal tendencies as “pure” speculation.

    It’s speculative, for sure, but there’s plenty of evidence that some guys come out the other end of having played this game more than a little messed up in the head. It doesn’t manifest the same way in everybody and it doesn’t manifest in some at all. Just as the former don’t constitute proof that football causes erratic behavior in all former players, the latter doesn’t constitute proof that it causes erratic behavior in none.

  11. therealtrenches says:
    March 30, 2018 at 8:31 pm
    I wouldn’t dismiss the idea that head trauma is related to his suicidal tendencies as “pure” speculation.

    It’s speculative, for sure, but there’s plenty of evidence that some guys come out the other end of having played this game more than a little messed up in the head. It doesn’t manifest the same way in everybody and it doesn’t manifest in some at all. Just as the former don’t constitute proof that football causes erratic behavior in all former players, the latter doesn’t constitute proof that it causes erratic behavior in none.
    ________________________________________________________________________________________
    I understand what you’re saying but why is football the only thing being attacked. Why not boxing where people get punched in the face over and over? Why not bull riding where people get flung in the air and trampled by a 2,000 pound animal? Why not racing where you can wreck going over 200 miles per hour? There is no need to blame football.

  12. How does he know for sure that it was the concussions that caused it? There are hundreds of thousands of people that don’t play sports, that aren’t receiving concussions that have these exact same feelings, that deal with demons of their own on a regular basis. I personally know several people that have either thought about or attempted suicide. Luckily I don’t know of anyone personally that has been successful in doing so, but it happens much more than people think. Linking concussions to suicide might be, but it might also be more of a genetic disease.
    Concussion research is fairly new, so until all avenues have been explored it’s just a guess.

  13. I certainly don’t know how much concussions have to do with his depression, but I’m certain the death of his son has a lot to do with it. Hope he gets the help he needs.

  14. He was insane on that 1991 Redskins Superbowl team; greatest long-ball season ever……Monk, Clark, and Sanders…..unreal. The HOGS gave up 9 sacks, ALL SEASON. Byner, Riggs, Ervins.
    Capitol Defense…….ugh…..Should have been 16-0 honestly but the football team from Dallas (and a garbage week 17 game against the Philadelphia team with barely any starters for the Redskins playing).

    I hope he recovers and doesn’t end up like his cousin, the NHL player, who killed himself. Sad stuff.

    Hail to the Redskins and hail to the Ripper.

  15. ChainSnatcher says:
    March 30, 2018 at 8:53 pm
    I understand what you’re saying but why is football the only thing being attacked. Why not boxing where people get punched in the face over and over? Why not bull riding where people get flung in the air and trampled by a 2,000 pound animal? Why not racing where you can wreck going over 200 miles per hour? There is no need to blame football.
    ———–
    How many kids do you know who ride bulls? How many American towns shut down on Friday nights because there’s a boxing match? How many of your kids’ schools hold mandatory pep rallies for car racing teams? How many of your friends and relatives have parties for watching rodeo championships? Football may be unfairly blamed for a lot of those things but it’s the only sport you mentioned that has mainstream participation and is popular with people and communities of all ages. Those other things are niche hobbies. And in case you haven’t noticed, boxing doesn’t have a great reputation and the popularity on many levels is at an all time low. Your 8 year-old kid might know 1 kid who boxes or has a dad who rides bulls or races cars, but he has 30 friends on the Pop Warner football team.

  16. The other thing one needs to ask is what sort of medication he’s on. A lot of these anti-depressant and similar drugs have as a side-effect suicidal tendencies. And the NFL is in league with the pharmaceutical companies which has some effect on the anti-marijuana stance Goddell and Company have.

  17. My wife’s uncle who was a wealthy engineer with kids who committed suicide because of depression. No one new and he never had a concussion. It’s easy to blame that but it’s a disease you have that many ofther Americans have. You should use your platform to promote awareness to this disease that not many no is inflicting people they love. Instead of saying concussions is the reason. Not saying that concussions are not the reason but more than likely it’s not. So like I said it would be better to bring awareness to the thousands of regular people who really are affected by this than the few ex millionaire nfl players who made bad financial decisions and are now looking for a pay day. But I hope you find something to bring you joy and above all talk to your love ones and tell them what you are going through. And then you will find many reasons to live.

  18. A lot of the posts here sound a lot like; “when I was a kid”, “back in my day”, “I got hit in the head, now look at me”.

    Is everyone here a peewee football coach?

  19. Regardless of cause it takes courage to publicly talk about your troubles. I hope he stays on the right path and continues to get help. He’s lucky his wife has stayed by his side.

  20. It’s sad and embarrassing that the loudest football fans
    remind me of the uneducated, delusional boxing fans who denied
    all scientific evidence related to brain injuries in contact sports.

    Prayers to Mark Rypien.

  21. “I understand what you’re saying but why is football the only thing being attacked. Why not boxing where people get punched in the face over and over? Why not bull riding where people get flung in the air and trampled by a 2,000 pound animal? Why not racing where you can wreck going over 200 miles per hour? There is no need to blame football”

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    It is a national health issue.

    1,000,000 high school football athletes (2016)
    70,000 college football athletes (2016)

    18,000 children and teen boxers (2011)
    51% of all boxing injuries are concussions

    There are A LOT MORE football athletes than boxers/rodeo/auto racing COMBINED.

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