Luke Falk of Washington State will be honoring his teammate while at the Senior Bowl this week in Mobile, Alabama. Following the death of Tyler Hilinski, Falk will wear Hilinski’s No. 3 in his memory.
“I just felt like [the jersey switch] is what I needed to do. He needs to be remembered,” Falk told reporters during a media opportunity, according to ESPN. “He was an amazing person and an amazing soul. This guy was one of the most outgoing, bubbly … just a guy you want to be around. And people need to know it.”
Hilinksi was found dead in his apartment last week in an apparent suicide. Just 21 years old, Hilinski’s death raised awareness about suicide and suicide prevention resources that are made available to anyone who may need them. By wearing Hilinski’s uniform number this week at the Senior Bowl, Falk hopes to continue the effort to rasie awareness as best he possibly can.
“We really want Tyler to be remembered and this to be talked about,” Falk said. “I mean, when suicide is the leading cause of death of men from 18 to 45 years old, it should be talked about. And we should do something about it. I feel like at times we feel like we can’t express our emotions because we’re in a masculine sport. And him being a quarterback, people look up to you as a leader, so he felt like he really probably couldn’t talk to anybody. You know, we gotta change some of that stuff. We gotta have resources and not have any more stigma on people going through that.”
This is a simple gesture that will hopefully pay off for suicide prevention and awareness, even if it just helps one person in the long run. Falk will be given plenty of opportunities to keep Hilinski’s memory alive this week as he looks to shine in the Senior Bowl. Considered to be a mid-round quarterback prospect, Falk will have the chance to boost his own draft stock with a solid showing this week in Mobile, and that could also lead to more awareness of Hilinski’s tragic death.