Call of Leadership

The Call of Leadership

Making it as a quarterback for an NFL Franchise would be the high point in anyone’s life.  Eric Hipple shares with us his climb to become a world-class athlete.  Then his fall into depression after retirement.  Now Eric plays a new game.  Perhaps the most important of his life.  Bringing awareness of depression and the signs of it to the world.

Show Notes:

Eric Hipples Website


Center of Neurological Studies


Cliff Duvernois: [00:00:00] Hello everyone! This is your host Cliff DuVernois. And today I am joined by a truly remarkable human. Being drafted in 1980, he played for the Detroit lions as their quarterback for 10 years.

This included two playoff bids and a divisional championship in 1981. He actually earned. The Detroit lions MVP award. After his 10 year career, you could say that he could have just sat back and just relaxed, but he didn’t. He dedicated the next phase of his life after he went through a very real personal loss, which we’ll be discussing today.

His work in depressive illness and mental fitness has earned him an honorary doctorate from his Alma mater of Utah state university. He’s also received the university of Michigan’s prestigious Nuebacher award. For his work with the stigma associated with disabilities. He’s one of the 2010 Detroit lions courage house award, the prestigious 2008 lifesaver achievement award from the American foundation for suicide prevention.

I can probably stand here and read his resume all day, but we should probably jump into the show. So without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the show, Eric Hipple Eric, how are you?

Eric Hipple, Detroit Lions: [00:01:07] I’m doing well. Thank you. And thanks for having me on. I appreciate it.

Cliff Duvernois: [00:01:10] Sure. Let’s, let’s talk a little bit about, about where you’re from. well, you know what, before we do that, I got to ask you what’s going on with the Detroit lions.

Eric Hipple, Detroit Lions: [00:01:19] man. Isn’t that the golden question? I, you know, I don’t know. And I was there for 10 years and then I thought, you’d think I’d be able to answer that question, but watching, you know, As he fan, you know, for the last umpteen years is through, it’s really frustrating. And I wish I had an answer for it. And it doesn’t seem like the, be any easy fix.

I would, I have a lot of people go back to a curse that was put on by Bobby Lane, but that’s been over with since man, supposedly. So, I don’t know. It’s just a very strange, very strange, circus, I guess that keeps continues to go on. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t get it.

Cliff Duvernois: [00:01:55] That’s okay. I just, you know, I was just kind of looking forward to that first game of the season and got up there and well, yeah, there you go. So,

Eric Hipple, Detroit Lions: [00:02:02] You and me, you and me both, you know, I, I tell you, so going into, we were ahead and, in the fourth quarter, but I didn’t, I didn’t settle in because I remember what happened last year, seven times, and sure enough it bit us. And then, and then last week was, was really tough to watch as

Cliff Duvernois: [00:02:17] Yeah, there you go. Love it. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about, where you’re from, where you grew up.

Eric Hipple, Detroit Lions: [00:02:22] I actually, I was born in Texas, but I grew up in Southern California, a place called Downey, started playing pop Warner football around probably eight or nine years old. And then, which to a small three high school that was, kind of, it was, it’s just outside the, it’s like a suburb of LA.

 and then. Fortunately enough. I, I became, I was kind of a lead developer type kid, so I didn’t, wasn’t really a star or anything else until I guess I caught up to my body and my junior year in high school. And then, the scrubs penis of my, of my attitude, I guess, took over. And, we had kind of a running type offense and, and, I took a lot of hits, but got back up again and I think Utah state.

My one and only scholarship offer. He said, Hey, that’s our guy. I went to Utah state university and, ended up becoming a four year starter. And, and then I got drafted by the Detroit lions.

Cliff Duvernois: [00:03:13] Excellent. What did you study when you were at Utah state university?

Eric Hipple, Detroit Lions: [00:03:17] Well, oddly enough, I actually went in as an art major. I love art and, I was pretty decent at it in high school. And when I was younger, when a couple of old words, and so I went in as an art major,  the. Thing I thought I would focus in on of course was, was commercial art, because that’s how you make money, but it was completely different than the type of art that I like to do, which is just painting and free flow of stuff.

And, and so, I switched over to business and, so I studied in business administration. ended up, also studying computer science. And so I, it was long time ago. So computer science doesn’t mean anything, you know, from back then to what it is today, but, graduating with business administration with a computer science, option basically.

So it was almost close to kind of a dual,  degree, but, but anyway, so that’s what I ended up graduating with was in business administration.

Cliff Duvernois: [00:04:05] Excellent. And so I got to ask the question because, you know, we, we see these, we see these stories on TV and I got, just got to ask the question. What was it like to be part of. You know, the NFL draft and being tapped by the Detroit lions, you know, major league. They’re not major league. I’m sorry, but you know, it’s, you know, just the national level team for the NFL.

What was that like?

Eric Hipple, Detroit Lions: [00:04:30] Well, I can tell you it’s a lot different, than, than it is today. today as such as a, as a S S you know, event really, I mean, and so it’s, it wasn’t like that then they had the draft, but I was sitting,  basically in the trailer that I lived in, so it was on campus and, waiting for it, but it also has some difficulty in my senior year, I’d had injured his shoulder, and then came back.

And so to kind of prove my worth, I played in the postseason bowl game.  it’s actually blue-gray game, which is kind of funny now to think about that. But, you know, until these culture, you know, the, blue, you know, the North against the South, you know, blue-gray game is what they called it. And, and so I ended up, blowing my knee out and, so I injured it.

That means I went in for surgery. And so when I’m up for the draft and it knocked me down a few, I actually have my draft, my scouting report going into before the draft in a heavy listed as a first round draft choice. And, so with this, I went to about three or four different teams. They flew me around to look at.

 for a physical and I still had fluid on my knee from the, from the surgery. And so, two teams, fuck, fuck, fuck me in the physical. And so, so I guess you can say Detroit took a risk on me. And so I went drafted. I was sitting around not knowing what was going to happen, you know, not knowing that I’ve flown around all these different teams in the combine, but w w w what does that what’s going to happen?

And, I got a phone call from.  is at the end of the third round, I got a phone call from the head coach for Detroit and he said, he’s gonna take us, take me in the next round. So I’d be the first pick in the fourth round. And, I was ecstatic, you know, good. I’m gonna get my chance, you know? And, and so they did, they did, they drafted me and I remember going, Oh right.

I saw super excited and everything else, but I’m a West coast guy and I thought what’s that. What’s in Detroit. This is a natural thing because I got drafted. Okay. This is really cool, but you know, what is Detroit? You know, I was eyeballing, you know, Seattle, you know, cause they were pretty new team West coast and you know, looking at that, you know, if I went somewhere, wouldn’t that be cool?

But, it was Detroit and so I was excited but also kind of apprehensive, cause I’ve never been back this way.

Cliff Duvernois: [00:06:40] And you get, you get drafted into Detroit. They, you know, they put you into. To the quarterback slot. And, you know, even though, even though it is Detroit, and even though it may not have been your first pick, you, you, you had a really great career there. And not only that, but you stayed with them throughout your career.

What was it that, that kept you playing for Detroit that whole time?

Eric Hipple, Detroit Lions: [00:07:03] I was the owners. So,  I’ll say it like this. So, so when I came, when I came here, like I said, I knew nothing about Detroit. I did. Realize how beautiful Michigan can be. When I remember they picked us up and, and by the way, it’s completely different. I mean, we were more like recruits than we were actually, you know, draft choices that you’re gonna make them a lot of money can come in.

You know, it was like, okay, we own you now. It was a different experience than it is today, but the, we got here. So, when I found out that was, I think it was, Joe Reed was the third team quarterback. At the time. And he retired when, when they drafted me. So that means I was number three on the quarterback list and they keep three quarterbacks.

And so I knew pretty much I was going to make the team right. unless I really screwed up bad. And so the experience is coming in and just trying to learn,  and I use, I was a holder and so, Eddie Murray, myself and another, draft choice. Thomas Jenner was his name. We were, we made it the three for the, rookie, you know, funeral team and, and, MPH

And so that was cool. So that means I’m going to also get on the field, you know, so that was neat. But the experience of coming into training camp with this, you know, from coming from Utah state, from coming from a background of a small three day school from one of those mindsets of, you know, am I worthy, you know, type thing, which is.

Kind of a weird mindset to have, because I felt good. I was in great shape, but still, you know, all of a sudden you’re in it. And you’re looking at all these guys and men kind of the imposter setting kind of fits in, do I belong to be here? And, you know, and I stayed that way basically until I got my chance to start my first start.

Cliff Duvernois: [00:08:42] That’s. Yeah, I can, I can certainly certainly see that, you know, cause you’re, you’re, you’re playing with like the top players in the world,

Eric Hipple, Detroit Lions: [00:08:50] Yeah.

Cliff Duvernois: [00:08:51] I mean, you know, you’re, you’re out there playing against the best of the best. I mean, what, what you had there is like, you know, the. You know, one in a hundred million shot, you know, and it’s not just playing on a team it’s that, you know, like you said, you’re, you know, you’re, you’re the, you’re the third quarterback you are.

I mean, wow. You’re there. So I think that’s, you know, I think that would be pretty intimidating for, especially for anybody, to come up there. So, like you said, you fell in love with you fell in love with Michigan, I guess. And you stayed here for 10 years.

Eric Hipple, Detroit Lions: [00:09:21] I tell you what was amazing was the, the changes in speed. Oh my gosh. Cause you go from high school and then you make the jump into college and it’s just like, wow. You know, this is fast, you know what I mean? So just trying to keep pace and keep speed, but then you get used to that speed. Right.

And it becomes kind of normalize and then you’d take that speed and jump into the pros. And it is like, Multiplier effect. It is like, it’s insane how fast things happen. And there is no time to think at all, any hesitation and you’re done. And so it becomes. You have to acclimate to that speed of things are happening and not let it get you, you know, and not panic and not gut.

It’s actually like a train wreck. I mean, excuse me, like a car crash crash. It just happened so fast. I’m like, well, the play’s over. What just happened, you know, and tell you acclimate to that over time and get to know things. And it becomes more of a, an a, you know, more of your subconscious operating. And so then you can kind of sit on top of that and say, okay, now I can manage this game.

And it’s, it is, it is quite insane how fast things happened in the NFL.

Cliff Duvernois: [00:10:23] Oh, I bet. I bet

Eric Hipple, Detroit Lions: [00:10:25] I bet the,

Cliff Duvernois: [00:10:26] so the question I’ve got for you now

Eric Hipple, Detroit Lions: [00:10:28] now,

Cliff Duvernois: [00:10:29] your, your career with the lions you were with them for 10 years and after your, your 10 years is over, at that point, you know, you’re, you’re looking at basically just retirement, but it’s not really retirement because. You literally launched into this next phase of your life.

And I do want to spend some time and make sure we, we discussed this at length, but you know, when you’re, when you’re basically playing at, you know, the world level, the top world level, and then you go into retirement and what was, you know, talk to me. You said that you said before I hit the record button, you said this beautiful word transition.

I love that word. You, you went through this transition and what, what was it like to kinda like, you know, be at the, be it basically at the top of your game now, having to step down into this next phase of your life.

Eric Hipple, Detroit Lions: [00:11:18] Well, you know, towards the, towards the end. And, you know, the last couple of years of, you know, I was beat up pretty bad and, I had broken my farm, so I was on injured reserve. One season, it came back, got me starting job back. in 88 in a broken ankle, fractured it and just spun it on backwards. And so plate screws, I mean, it was a major deal.

And, came back after that year. Sure. about mid-season got my starting job back against Minnesota and in that game they just tore me up. The pieces on the blitz. I just couldn’t move. You know, I couldn’t do scape, you know, I just wasn’t as fast as I used to be and just, I was just getting hammered.

And so the, the pull me in the third quarter, and then the, I went in the next day, you know, the bench during the third quarter, I went in and the next day, and I, I knew something was up, you know? And so I went in and, and they call me into the office and they actually said that, Well, we’ve got a couple options here.

you can retire. Okay. And we’ll give you a, we’ll give you a platform, you know, conference, but we are going to cut you. So I said, okay, so you can me, which means that’s pretty ugly. And I won’t get a chance to say goodbye to people. So I chose the retirement route, so I could have the press conference and say goodbye to a city, basically met goodbye.

But my, as my career was ending at city. But when I went home after that, that, that day after the press conference, I said home, I was in shock. It was just like, wow. You know, I’ve been doing this since I was nine years old and I’m 32 years old and I haven’t moved. Oh, I do who I am. you know, I wear uniform every year as known as football.

That’s my identity. And so you lose that identity, that your support systems you lose ’em, you know, your medical care. You’re I I’ll throw you in throw fame in there. You lose all that in just a snap of a finger. And it’s over with and trying to come to grips on who you are is probably the biggest thing.

So when I say transitions and everybody goes through transitions and I’m really big on helping to identify what that really means, because you know, going from, Oh, well you got cut one day in those. So you just go in and start a job the next day, or it is so much more than that. Then it’s hard to describe what it is, but it’s the same thing for somebody who’s been in their career.

Who’s been in a, in a, you know, a worker for, you know, 30 years or somebody who’s been a business owner for 30 years at, or, you know, think of teachers, think of, you know, anybody that’s been doing, what they’ve been doing for a long period of time. Their identity is that. And it’s removed from them. It’s very, very difficult.

And I think that transition is not really looked at that enough. You take kids, you go from one class, you know, one grade to another grade you take, you know, seniors are graduate. Now they’re going to go to college or not go to college. Maybe they go get their job. Those transitions are huge. And you take athletes when they’re not, when they can’t perform anymore.

It takes a military service members. When all of a sudden they leave the service. Because either forced you cause of injury or because of, or because the timeout, or just because the cutbacks in the military, same thing and wore a uniform and they’re out, those things are really big. And part of that is the more identity you have in your, in your workplace or more identity you have.

As far as attaching yourself to that, it becomes very difficult. And I look at, you know, families who go through, you know, divorce changes and, and kids who have to move from one parent to another parent or one location to another location to fault they’re going through transitions every time they go through something.

And I think that’s to put a spotlight on that, I think is a very big deal. And that’s what I’ve been really trying to focus in on and trying to help people with

Cliff Duvernois: [00:14:45] Your journey down this path, actually began, began with a very personal loss to you. Why don’t you share with us a little bit about what that is?

Eric Hipple, Detroit Lions: [00:14:57] Well, yes. And the, you know, I was struggling with the transition as we talked about when I got cut, but I started, I started a business and, kind of poured everything I had into it, just to kind of find a new identity. The thing is, after a few years, you know, the struggle continued where. You know, I felt like I just didn’t belong.

I’m kind of like in the, there was just no joy, you know? So I had like every classical symptom of depression going on at the time. And the colon culminated where,  I ended up just in the,  not I was getting ready to leave on a business trip and I just, just, it didn’t fit. Right. And just, I thought people would be better off without me and I, and I jumped out of a car that was going 75 miles an hour and my wife was driving it.

And, I ended up waking up in the hospital. They already done some surgery, the wanted me to get some help to the psychiatrist and figure out what was going on.  and I said, no, you know, that’s what stigma does. And I just, Nope, not going to do that. I’m fine now. And kind of grin and bear it and move forward.

The trouble with that is it’s not learning anything. Right. And, and so that made me not very. Very, I’m a student too, where my son, who was 15 years old, it was actually, living with his mom and Utah, then living with me than living back with her and I’ve been remarried. And so, he fit in our family really well.

And he came back and lived with us his freshman year, going into high school. And just did super, just did great. I mean, he was really popular, a really well known captain of his freshman basketball team, just to just a good kid. And then, but around the holidays,  for were reasonable, you know, maybe it’s just another transition that’s coming.

Cause he’s gonna go back into, I don’t know, but he started not doing well and it culminated into,  At some point in time and I didn’t pick him up and I didn’t pick these things up just because I was kind of involved myself in my own stuff. And, and unfortunately he ended up taking his life.  so he died by suicide aside at age 15, April 9th, 2000.

And that part after that was just crumbling. it,  it just, it took everything out of the guilt, the shame, the,  You know, the loss was just so overwhelming that, I went down a pathway of destruction of just, you know, alcohol, anything. I get my hands on, basically prescription medications, really anything.

I get my hands on just to be numb. I didn’t want to feel anything. And, it was in the recovery of, of that, that I ended up working for the university of Michigan,  depression center. Thanks to a great man, dr. John Graden, who got me involved over there. But, it was through that learning that education and stuff that kind of started me in this pathway of being able to, understand what those transitions can do, but understand what loss is like, but also understanding that, you know, picking yourself back up again and, and trying to move forward.

And, and that’s really what sent me on this mission.

Cliff Duvernois: [00:17:45] And, you know, I do have to do, to say real quick, you know, I really am sorry for, really, I’m sorry for your loss. And. I would like to go back and just revisit something here really quick, because, I have, I’ve heard this a couple times from, people that have been interviewed that have seriously considered, even extensively planned out, their suicide, but they, they seem to have this feeling that the, and you use this phrase, the world would be better off without me.

Why, why, why, why did, why did that thought run through your mind?

Eric Hipple, Detroit Lions: [00:18:18] Well, you know, there’s, and I can’t say scientifically that the answer is because, you know, you take a lot of things on empathetically, sensitive people seem to be, have more empathy towards other people’s feelings as well. And so I think what happens is you get to the point where. You don’t want to be a bother anymore, you know?

Okay. They, they put up with this, you know, over and over again, I’m just down. I’m not able to perform, I’m not able to, you know, be there and present for people. So,  you know, the. If you go by what the, the, the model that was put on by Thomas joiner, doc Thomas trainer, which says, you know, there’s burdensomeness feeling, you know, whereas you feel like you’re a burden to the society or burden to those around you, the ones that you love because of what you’re going through.

And so, that means, You don’t ask for help really. you just decide that if I’m not around, they’re going to be better off. And so that becomes the suicidal thoughts and how it’s actually thoughts of death turned into suicidal thoughts on how, you know, you would remove yourself from it. But it’s, I don’t want to say sacrifice, but it’s almost to the point where, it, it, it hurts to live in it and I’m hurting people and I don’t want that to happen.

And that was the change with after my son died. And, you know, he was a sensitive kid as well, you know, and I, and I talked about, you know, it’s kind of artsy background, you know, when I was in high school and then he was kind of the same way. And, but, one of the,  I asked you to kind of lost my track there for a second on the other side, on the side of thought.

but the, that, that, but bring some feeling like I said, is what really curious carries forward. But what I learned about after just death was that,  you’re not better off. Okay. And the people that you leave behind are not better off they’re far, much worse. Cause they carry your pain. They carry the guilt, the shame, the hurt, the loss.

They just shifted to them. And so when somebody is thinking that way, you got to really let them know, no, this is not true. This is just part of your thinking, but you’re going to really, really hurt people, you know, and cause them pain. And that’s the opposite of what you want to do. And so that’s an important piece.

Thanks for bringing that up.

Cliff Duvernois: [00:20:21] It is. And I’m glad you said that because, just this last week I was listening to a, a podcast interview where the host of the show opened up about, how he was molested as a child and he was planning his suicide and it was just, you know, a God thing, whatever that. it didn’t happen. But what he said were really struck me in the fact that it never occurred to him that by thinking of committing suicide in doing that act just to like relieve his pain, he never considered the fact of the pain that he was going to inflict on.

All of his loved ones would be like 10 fold what he was feeling.

Eric Hipple, Detroit Lions: [00:21:00] Yes. Yeah.

Cliff Duvernois: [00:21:02] think that’s something a lot of people don’t think about. But with, you know, with this touching you in a very real way, I mean, it touched you, you know, personally, just, you know, you and your heart, with, with you and your son, you have dedicated a good chunk of your life to.

you know, you’ve written a book you’ve given, tons of speeches. You’ve, you’ve done so much work. I mean, like I mentioned in the intro there, you’ve got an honorary doctorate from your Alma mater. So why don’t you talk to us about the work that you are actually doing in this area?

Eric Hipple, Detroit Lions: [00:21:32] I’d be happy to thank you. it’s it’s changed over time as well, because you know, early on there was no stigma was so bad. Let’s just try to defeat stigma first. Right? So this go out and tell stories and talk and say, Hey, listen to these things. Cause,  they are treatable first of all. And so this identify what they are.

So depression is, you know, about 90% of suicides and I’ll just stick for that for a second are due to some sort of untreated or undiagnosed, you know, mental health issue. And depression is a huge part about one room for the one in five to one and four people will suffer some sort of mental health issue in their lifetime.

And so if it’s not, you, you know, it might be somebody in your family or somebody, a friend or somebody that you do know. And so let’s just talk about this. So this raises the awareness and well that started happening and the awareness has gotten to a level were there and talking about it. But, so that means that if that’s the case, then let’s go ahead and talk about treatment, because that would make sense.

If you can identify it, then let’s get treatment. And it’s taken a long time, you know, to get mental health parody, you know, done for, you know, too. So go and see a psychiatrist or psychologist or somebody is, is. Is paid just like it would be if it’s a physical health issue. And so there that track, you know, so working to try and change that and getting guys to come forward or working with hard to reach populations, in remembering the fact that you can get healthcare to them.

In our mental health care, behavioral health figure to him. So, you know, there, there is that piece. And so I spent a lot of time on, hard to reach populations. We started a thing called after the impact. so reaching out to military veterans and former NFL players,  I think they have a lot in common with dignity, for a uniform.

And then, when they leave, their whole support systems are gone. So we started doing that, but. On the same track. It was okay. So there’s not enough therapist and there’s not enough psychiatrist around and it’s almost impossible to get them. So if you raised the awareness and people start identifying, but you don’t have the answer because there’s just not enough of them.

We need to increase that. Well, in the meantime, that’s a huge gap. And so you start talking on conversations to get people talking and that’s great. But if everybody’s just talking about their woes and like, yeah, this is happening to me, but I don’t know what to do about it. And cause there’s nobody that can get it three months before I can get an appointment.

 you end up with a lot of unhealthy people talking about stuff and it can be, yeah, it can, it can be a multiplying effect in a negative terms. And so let’s start educating people.  as common people, or I guess everyday Joes on more about what mental health or mental fitness is, it’s we at least have an identity of what it should be, you know, and quit identifying it by a diagnosis.

Let’s talk about what mental health should be. And that means, you know, the definition I love is, you know, a state of wellbeing on who you are and, and the fact that you can have normal.  yes, you can normal stresses. You can be productive. You can be part of a community. You can have good relationships.

You know, this let’s talk about state of wellbeing is what I’m really after to try and get people to understand, because feeling uncomfortable in your skin, I’m afraid to associate with other people, the anxieties and the worries, can lead to depression and negative thought patterns and core beliefs that that might not be true.

And so let’s try and elevate the everyday education. And so, and so the, one of the biggest things today, he’s working on how to educate, you know, the everyday person with some emotional intelligence, you know, understand that we do have emotions. And what do I do with those emotions? You know, requires, you know, some thought processes on how to redirect, how to rethink, how to re re would you call it the.

How to look at it in a different way. So perception-wise, reframe things. And so one of the programs are involved with that. I really like it’s, it’s called be nice.  it’s actually by the mental health foundation of Western Michigan, but be And, so be nice as notice, invite, challenge, and empower.

And it’s just a way of raising a little bit of level of cultural experience for, for middle school and high school students. And so it’s a student run format. So I love that. Just like, I love the idea that if you can’t see a therapist today, is there somebody that at least has been taught some sort of triage and just listen to things and say, Hey, listen, here’s a voice to happen.

And we can actually do that for our friends and ourselves, if we’re in tune and a little more mentally healthy. And so I’m just trying to raise the level of mental health, and understanding a little bit better. That’s where I’m at kind of today. There are other caveats that go along with that, of course, which is some of the physical things that happen.

Yes, there are predispositions, there is trauma, which is a huge thing. In fact, a trauma that happens in youth, you know, the, adverse, you know, Childhood childhood experiences, can actually. For my, our core beliefs and how we’re going to respond and how we react to things and how we, you know, for our behavioral health in the future.

And so I’m trying to get an into trauma and understanding that pieces as well. And then of course, there’s brain injury as well, which, you know, everybody’s thrown into it in 2009, 2010 because of a, the NFL came out and, you know, and said, yes, okay. Concussions can have some, some longterm problems to it. It was really shame.

I know I’m rambling. I apologize. But. It was really interesting because around that time and to get players, you know, to identify with some of the mental health issues they have from transition was really difficult to do. But when the head injury thing came out, everybody came flooding in saying, yeah, I have these symptoms.

And they’re the same symptoms that you have from transition or mental health issues. So it was like, okay, well, Lisa coming forward, right. And then trying to cipher out between, you know, is it real actual brain injury or is it actually mental health issues that you’re having? And so, which can be complicated.

 but at least we’re on track. We’re bringing mental health into the, into the fold.

Cliff Duvernois: [00:27:16] Yeah. And I don’t think a lot of people take mental health really into account when you’re speaking about transitions, because, you know, I know we were just talking about, the, you know, these football players and after their careers over and, you know, the, the concussions that they sustained longterm, you mentioned something before subject near and dear to my heart is, military.

personnel, you know, transitioning from being in the military to being into, civilian life. So, you know, with that being said, if there’s it taking a look at your, your, your experience in this area, the people that you’ve talked with, the people that have you, that have helped for somebody out there that’s like, perhaps, like, let’s say that they’re there, they’re experiencing a transition or they’re getting ready to experience one of these transitions.

What would be, what would it be like? Maybe like three. Keys pieces of advice that you would give. And I know I’m kind of putting you on the spot here,

Eric Hipple, Detroit Lions: [00:28:07] no, not at all. No.

Cliff Duvernois: [00:28:08] be, what would be like three key things that you would tell them to look out for or to focus on or whatever, whatever form that advice might take.

Eric Hipple, Detroit Lions: [00:28:17] well, well, first of all, understanding that this is a big event, and I’m not gonna, I’m not gonna tie it to PTSD, but I do want to tie it to the fact that it’s some sort of trauma that you’re experiencing because you, it’s kind of a huge amount of loss involved in it. The loss of identity. The loss of a support system, the loss of, like mission, that’s gone.

And so loss of purpose, those are really huge losses. And it’s also maybe a loss of a future if you plan on having a career, but now you can’t go forward in that career.  Those are some huge losses. And so when you start thinking about loss, there’s things that are going to be some sort of grief involved, but if you don’t understand that, then all of a sudden you start feeling the grief from it, like in, you know, like we do, if we’ve lost somebody to death that, that grieves that missing, it can set off these symptoms that we’re talking about and make it difficult just as somebody who’s gone through a really traumatic event.

Right. The might’ve been shocking to them. They might’ve witnessed something. Yes, that’s there. But you also understand it’s going to have some complications, so symptoms that will follow it. And if you understand that, that, that is those symptoms are going to be normal for the event that you just went through.

Then at least you can look at them and say, aha. So you can. At least have some sort of expectation of what’s going to happen, but know that that’s normal, we’re going to get through it. It’s really don’t realize it, that we started going through those things that we started thinking that this is abnormal and that means something’s wrong with me.

And then we started chasing the, you know, the diagnosis and so, you know, Okay. I don’t want to see disease building, but basically you start looking for reasons why something’s wrong because you have to have some sort of reason why that happened and not realizing it was just as transitional piece. And so the re the rotary recovery, or just like in, and the, the road to acceptance the road to, you know, norm, mentalizing it again?

You realize you’re going to have to go through some of these symptoms, you know, sleep problems, you know, not kind of feeling out of sorts, kind of feeling down, maybe kind of feeling, you know, lost for awhile. and it is to miss dramatic. That happens then it’s also not wanting to think about it.

And so trying to avoid that and how do we things with alcohol, with, with isolation, with, acting out, you know, and so. We don’t want to get a, in that pattern. And so it’s just identifying it, first of all, that’s the main thing. So realize those things are going to happen. So those feelings have, and that way it makes it a little bit easier to say, okay, this is what they talked about.

I’m in it now. And so, you know, there’s going to be an outcome that’s really positive one. If you just maintain and understand what’s going through and follow it.

Cliff Duvernois: [00:30:50] sure. Yeah. Attitude is everything.

Eric Hipple, Detroit Lions: [00:30:53] Yeah. Well, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s more than even attitude. It’s it’s awareness to what. What the body goes through when you go through a major transition and just identifying that, the second part is if you are stuck in it, right.

then it is to talk with somebody and it could be a trusted person. Somebody you’d trust when it’s on your inside circle. somebody that might be a peer that have gone through it before and so realizing. Okay. there’s a story there. They seem to be okay. What did you go through when you went like this, rather than thinking you’re the only one going through it?

Cause that’s much the same thought process. I’m the only one going through this. And so, so identification and reaching out to peers. but then again, it’s also understanding where I’m going, okay. All this, you know, the emotional intelligent piece, which is we have, you know, you know, our five basic emotions, you know, discuss, add.

You know, joy, you know, anger, disgust, you know, that we have, but what does that mean and how, how does that shape my behavior and what I do about it. If we understand the emotion and where it’s coming from, then we actually can reframe it and think about it and say, I understand where it’s coming from.

It’s when we don’t that we act out and our behaviors become,  following that emotion rather than, you know, the idea of like, I understand what I’m involved in here. This is a transition. This is going to be rough, but I will get through it. Yes. Yes.

Cliff Duvernois: [00:32:15] Excellent. Thank you for that. if, if anybody in our audience wants to, follow what you’re doing online or connect with you, what would be the best way for them to do that?

Eric Hipple, Detroit Lions: [00:32:25] Well, but they can reach me through, They can leave contact information or email or just. Make a message and I’ll get back with them.  that’s probably the best way. you know, I throw out my email address, but actually my emails ehipple17 at Gmail and I, and I do communicate a lot on that.

I get a lot of them, but, I pick off what I can and onto it, if something very personal.  so those are the best ways to get ahold of me.  you can always reach out to be I do some work with them as an advocate. I also, CNS, so center for neuro neurological studies.  so center for neurological study dot, dot com.

Yeah, dot  but they’re, they’re involved in the, and this is quite interesting, the brain injury, and we’re doing research right now. We’ve had a research for veterans going on, but we have research going on right now for brain injury. And we’re looking at doing another step for, what that means.

we found out that, through that study, that Lloyd guys who have had sustained injuries over a long period of time to their sub-concussive hits, it actually affects the call. It hypo pituitary. Dysfunction, basically hype to terrorism. So it’s when you’re particularly glands, aren’t functioning correctly.

And so your hormones aren’t being, signaled to release, like they’re supposed to, and, and those things look just like a depression as well. So, so there’s different areas, you know, to go. But, those are some of the people that I’m involved with.

Cliff Duvernois: [00:33:53] excellent. And for our audience, we will make sure to include those links in the show notes down below Eric. It’s been awesome having you on the podcast today. Thank you very much.

Eric Hipple, Detroit Lions: [00:34:02] Well, I appreciate it. And thank you very much for having me on. And, I know we dived in to some areas. one great one great link for information itself is the university of Michigan. So it’s called depression, tremendous amount of great information, depression

Cliff Duvernois: [00:34:18] excellent. We’ll include that in our links as well. Eric. Thanks again.

Eric Hipple, Detroit Lions: [00:34:22] My pleasure. Thank you for having me on.