Mark Rypien on His Mental Health Struggles: 'I've Been Down Dark Places'

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 30, 2018

MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 10:  Mark Rypien, former quarterback for the Washington Redskins, attends Destination Fashion 2012 To Benefit The Buoniconti Fund To Cure Paralysis, the fundraising arm of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, on November 10, 2012 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by John Parra/Getty Images for The Buoniconti Fund)
John Parra/Getty Images

Former NFL quarterback Mark Rypien said Thursday that he suffers from multiple mental issues that he believes were brought on by head injuries suffered during his playing days. 

In an interview with Stephanie Vigil of KHQ in Spokane, Washington, Rypien said, "I've been down dark places."

He later added, "I suffer from a complex stew of mental health conditions. Dark places, depression, anxiety, addictions, poor choices, poor decisions, brought about by dozens of concussions and thousands of sub-concussive injuries from playing this sport."

In the wide-ranging interview, Rypien attributed a November 2017 domestic violence incident against his wife, Danielle, to improper medications. He said he didn't remember anything from that night.

Rypien also recalled the time he attempted to take his own life: "I took 150 pills and a bottle of booze. If it wasn't for my wife 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."

The 55-year-old told Vigil that he plans to donate his brain for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) research upon his death, however, he has already been told that there are medical concerns regarding his brain: "It's not a normal brain, that's what they've told me. I got a full neurological scan. Again, the scans they're looking at? They're not normal scans."

Rypien was the lead plaintiff in a concussion lawsuit against the NFL. In 2013, he was one of 4,500 players who were awarded a total of $765 million, however, he said the NFL continues to tie the case up in court.

With regard to his NFL career, Rypien said that he would choose a path other than football if he had another chance:

"I would change it. I don't enjoy going through the strategies, and the medicine to just try to live a normal life. As much as I love sports. I'd try something else. I'd become a really good swimmer. I'd become a really good tennis player. I'd become something. I'd do something that kept me from the hits, the concussive and sub-concussive hits that I took."

Rypien spent 11 seasons in the NFL with the Washington Redskins, Cleveland Browns, St. Louis Rams, Philadelphia Eagles and Indianapolis Colts.

He was a two-time Pro Bowler and led the Redskins to a 37-24 win over the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVI in 1992.

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