SPOKANE, Wash. - The MVP of Super Bowl XXVI said he once tried to kill himself after suffering “from a complex stew of mental health conditions,” KHQ reported.
Former Washington Redskins quarterback Mark Rypien spoke with the Spokane television station and The Spokesman-Review in separate interviews about his problems, citing “Dark places, depression, anxiety, addictions, poor choices, poor decisions” that were caused by the concussions he suffered during his playing career.
The 11-year NFL veteran said he was speaking out after the January suicide of Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski and the apparent self-inflicted gunshot death of Coeur d’Alene High School principal Troy Schueller in Idaho, ESPN reported.
Rypien’s cousin, former NHL player Rick Rypien, also suffered from depression and died in an apparent suicide in 2011, ESPN reported..
"Let's address this now," Rypien told the Spokesman-Review. "Let me share my story so others can share theirs. Let's get rid of this silence that happens when you're caught up in this cycle and you don't know how to find the help I've been afforded.
"My story is impactful because people see me in a different light. I want them to see me in an accurate light. I've been down the darkest path. I've made some horrible, horrible mistakes. But I've given myself a chance to progress forward.”
Some of those mistakes included trips to Spokane spas that were closed down as part of a prostitution ring, ESPN reported.
Rypien, 55, said he also tried to commit suicide on the same day as his daughter Angie’s birthday, ESPN reported.
“I took 150 pills and a bottle of booze,” Rypien told KHQ. “If it wasn’t for my wife (Danielle) coming home and finding me on the floor, and shoving hydrogen peroxide down my throat, and charcoal, to throw up all these pills, I wouldn’t be here today.”
Rypien also had an episode of domestic violence with his wife in November 2017, according to a police report obtained by KHQ. Rypien admitted to the violence and blamed it on new medication he was taking to battle his mental issues.
"Part of this thing is getting the right medications,” Rypien told KHQ. “When you use something that doesn't address that? That impulse control? You go from zero to 60 very quickly.
“I don't remember that night. I remember losing control.”
"They had warned us when they put him on it," Danielle Rypien told the Spokesman-Review. "We're not talking about an antidepressant. We're talking about an anti-seizure med they added to his antidepressant, and it was the second one they had tried. The first one was also a disaster. They had warned us ... maybe he'll adjust into the medication after a rough patch, but expect weirdness.
"This is not a snapshot of our relationship. This was a unique and crazy night."
The charges were dropped and the case was eventually dismissed, KHQ reported.
Mark Rypien’s history of concussions and their effects may not deter other young athletes from playing football. But he said he wants to persuade people with mental challenges to bring them out into the open, he told the Spokesman-Review.
“It’s hard,” Rypien said. “There’s a lot of guilt and shame just to be in front of your own family in situations like this. When I was really dark, I felt there was no hope. That’s kind of the message I want to get out – that there is hope. I’m getting help.”