There are more questions than answers in the news this week that Washington State University backup quarterback Tyler Hilinski had a degenerative brain disease known as CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy). He committed suicide in January.
Hilinski's death, as well as his physical and mental state before he killed himself, are the topic of this week’s conversation between KNKX sports commentator Art Thiel and 88-5’s Kirsten Kendrick.
"The whole notion that CTE was a factor in this overrides everything," Thiel said.
"It's a startling development that, I think, was unanticipated by the football and the medical community."
Thiel referred to a Sports Illustrated article and video on the search for answers in Hilinsiki's death. The autopsy done by the Mayo Clinic, released this week, reveals that the 21-year-old Hilinksi had the brain of a 65-year-old man.
"In this case, there's really no notion of previous injury that would fortell this condition," Thiel said.
"CTE has been generally considered a consequence of repeated subconcussive hits over a long period of time."
"No one understood that there's also a possibility this can occur in young people, which raises the possibility of a hereditary component in CTE."
"That throws open a whole new course of discussion and study as to whether that this is more than mere concussion."
"The results of the autopsy on Tyler Hilinski are going to change a lot of things about how we conduct football, I think," Thiel continued.
"It's also going to have an impact on many other sports."
"To know that CTE can be in young people is really a game changer."