Super Bowl 57 Radio Row: Eric Hipple

Join us for Super Bowl 57 Radio Row of the Sports Philanthropy Podcast as Eric Hipple from Utah State University sits down with our hosts Roy Kessel and Kayla Bradham to share his work on athlete health.

Eric Hipple is a former National Football League (NFL) quarterback whose ten-year career was spent with the Detroit Lions. Born in Lubbock, Texas, and raised in Downey California, Eric graduated from Utah State University with a degree in Business administration and was drafted by the Detroit Lions in 1980.

Eric Hipple, Utah State University

Eric’s Background

As a result of the suicide in 2000 of Hipple’s 15-year-old son, Hipple is involved in educating people about the dangers of depression. Hipple delivers speeches on suicide prevention and mental illness at high schools, youth groups, members of the military and their families, local organizations and corporations. He is the Outreach Coordinator of the Depression Center of the University of Michigan. A documentary film by the Depression Center features Hipple. He also co-authored a study about depression and pain in retired professional football player.

Hipple’s book, Real Men Do Cry, was published in 2008. It discusses Hipple’s playing career with the Lions, his bouts with depression, and details of the warning signs of teens who have died from suicide.

Hipple’s accomplishments include two playoff bids, a divisional championship, and the Detroit Lion’s most valuable player award for the ‘81season. From 1995-2000 Hipple was the color analyst for the FOX NFL pre-game show in Detroit. Since his 15-year-old son Jeff’s suicide, Hipple has devoted his life to building awareness and breaking down the stigma surrounding depressive illnesses. Hipple received an honorary Doctorate for his work in Mental Health from his Alma Mater while giving the commencement speech to the 2019 class at Utah State University. He also received the University of Michigan 2015 Neubacher Award for work with the stigma associated with disabilities, the Detroit Lions 2010 Courage House award and the prestigious 2008 Life Saver Achievement award given by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Eric co-authored a study examining depression among retired football players, the study appeared in the April 2007 issue of Medicine & Science in Sports in Sports & Exercise.   He was awarded a presidential citation at the American Psychological Association’s 2006 Annual Convention for his six years of national community-based work combating adolescent depression and suicide prevention.

Highlights of Eric’s Podcast

  • 01:35 Eric’s work on mental health and concussions
  • 05:00 The problems of NFL about athletes’ health
  • 08:00 The actions that we need to take
  • 11:09 Eric’s experience about health and medications

Social Media

  • @EHipple (Twitter)

  • ehipple17 (Instagram) 

Kevin Lu

Kevin Lu

Sports Philanthropy Network

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