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

Illustration for article titled Mark Rypien On His Mental Health Struggles: "I've Been Down Dark Places"
Photo: Mike Powell (Getty Images)

In an interview with a Spokane, Wa.-based TV station, former Washington quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien spoke openly about his struggles with mental health, acknowledging that he had “been down dark places.” Rypien says that he has struggled with depression, and he believes that the damage inflicted on his brain by his NFL career is the cause.

“I suffer from a complex stew of mental health conditions,” Rypien said in the interview. “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.”

Since his career, ended Rypien has been caught up in a few legal issues, including rumors about his involvement in a 2012 prostitution sting in Spokane, which the interviewer asked him about. From the write-up of the interview:

VIGIL: “Did you frequent the spas that were shut down?”

RYPIEN: “What I’ve done in my life is I’ve stumbled. I’ve even falled [sic]. I’ve tried... what I’m doing, is turning these stumbling blocks into stepping stones.”

VIGIL: “Am I to take that as a ‘yes’?”

RYPIEN: “I’ve made poor decisions.”

Later, when Vigil asked Rypien whether any of the women he may have been with were underage, he asked to stop the interview and briefly left the room. He returned some minutes later, apologizing that the question was “scary” and it “hit him like a ton of bricks”, but said “To my knowledge, in all the years that I’ve been here, I’ve never been with an underage woman.”


Rypien was also named in a police report regarding a domestic violence incident involving him and his wife, which the QB blamed in the interview on new medications he was taking to combat his mental health problems.

“I don’t remember that night. I remember losing control,” he said.

Rypien was one of the lead plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the NFL claiming that the league didn’t do enough to inform players about the dangers of concussions. That lawsuit was ostensibly settled, but players recently claimed that the league isn’t paying up as promised.

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