Family of Tyler Hilinski attends WSU game for what would have been his senior game

The parents of Tyler Hilinski went to Pullman Saturday to watch what would have been their son’s senior game.

Instead, as the Cougars take on Oregon State, the university will be honoring Hilinski and a life gone too soon.

The Washington State University quarterback died by suicide in 2018. An analysis of his brain showed that he had CTE, a degenerative brain condition commonly found in ex-NFL players and is associated with repeated blows to the head.

READ: Tyler Hilinski’s legacy one year after his death

Though the game wasn’t easy for them to attend, Hilinski’s family says it’s the right decision.

“I think it’s hard, you know, to come back to a place you really love, for a different reason and that’s the difficult thing,” said Mark Hilinski, Tyler’s father.

But they came, to support those who supported them.

They’ve been back to Martin Stadium since Tyler passed, but Saturday night felt a little different, because it was WSU’s Senior Night, and Tyler should have been alongside his football family.

“We saw him there so many times and would watch him warm up and watch him play. There’s a big hole missing,” Mark said.

The love they’ve felt since he passed is unmatched.

“There aren’t very many words in the English language to really express how we feel. Just the love and support from people that don’t even know us. It’s a pretty lovely thing,” said Kym Hilinski, Tyler’s mother.

Following his death, they created the foundation ‘Hilinski’s Hope,’ which has raised money to sponsor mental health training and awareness.

“People ask all the time, ‘Are you worried about glorifying Tyler or glorifying suicide?’ But, we’re not at all. We love our son and obviously we miss him, unbelievably. What we’ve learned since he’s gone is we’ve got to talk about this stuff,” Mark said.

Kym said she hoped to see 3’s in the air during the 3rd quarter in honor of her son’s jersey number.

Tyler’s parents and family will be heading to Pullman for the game. Kym, Tyler’s mother, said it wasn’t an easy decision to come back, but it was the right one. Tonight, she hopes that in the 3rd quarter, they’ll see a bunch of 3’s in the air for him. #4NewsNow

— Elenee Dao KXLY (@Elenee_Dao) November 23, 2019

“We’re going to walk out onto that field and it’s the strength of Tyler and the strength of Coug Nation that is going to hold us up tonight,” Kym said.