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A composite photo of football helmets of teams partnering with Hilinski's Hope, including the CMS helmet.

CMS, Redlands Partner With Hilinski's Hope Foundation for Saturday's Football Game

CLAREMONT, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and Redlands football teams will be partnering with the Hilinski's Hope Foundation for their Saturday SCIAC opener at Zinda Field, as part of College Football Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs from Oct. 2-9.

Hilinski's Hope Foundation (H3H) is a non-profit organization formed to promote awareness and education of mental health and wellness for student-athletes. The Foundation's mission is to educate, advocate, and eliminate the stigma associated with mental illness, while funding programs that provide student-athletes with the tools and resources that support their mental health and wellness.

H3H was founded in 2018 by Mark and Kym Hilinski to honor the life of their son Tyler, a Claremont native who played football at Upland High School and Washington State University, before he died by suicide on Jan. 16, 2018. The foundation helps colleges and universities save lives, eliminate stigma, and scale mental wellness programs for student-athletes by sharing Tyler's story, connecting students with mental health resources, and assisting universities to institutionalize best practices. 

"It has been an incredible honor to work with the Hilinskis and support their foundation," said assistant athletic trainer Jesse Purcell, who has led the CMS outreach with Hilinski's Hope. "This partnership has been a great benefit to our mental health outreach to our student-athletes by creating events that celebrate and destigmatize talking about mental health, while also educating student-athletes how to recognize and acknowledge when they are not ok. It's not always easy to start and have conversations about our mental health, and we are grateful to the Hilinski's Hope Foundation for being leaders in starting these tough conversations and making it simple to be a part of. We are looking forward to the kickoff of the second annual College Football Mental Health Week, and celebrating student-athlete mental health all week long."

Both teams will wear helmet decals with the Hilinski's Hope Foundation's green ribbon, which will also be painted on to Zinda Field. Staff and sideline personnel will wear lapel pins and wristbands, and an announcement will be read at the end of halftime to encourage players and fans to hold up three fingers at the start of the third quarter in memory of Tyler, who wore No. 3 at Washington State. 

CMS is one of over 50 football programs nationwide who have joined the growing list of partners with Hilinski's Hope. The Stags have several personal ties to the foundation, stemming from the family calling Claremont home during Tyler's youth. Athletic director Erica Perkins Jasper is also a Washington State alumna who was familiar with the Hilinskis' story even before the partnership with CMS began, through her connections to her alma mater, and current Stags quarterback Zach Fogel attended several camps in high school with Tyler's younger brother, Ryan, who is currently a quarterback at Northwestern, and has known the Hilinski family for years.

"That family is important to me, and their message is important to me," said Fogel. "It's also been great to see other sports getting involved and other schools getting involved. The movement has grown so much since it started a couple of years ago, and I think the larger this movement becomes, the more the goal will be accomplished of destigmatizing mental health."

Kickoff for Saturday's game is slated for 1 p.m. from Zinda Field, while CMS and the 5C Mental Health Champions Club will sponsor various events throughout the week, culminating in World Mental Health Day on Oct. 10. 

Visit the Hilinski's Hope website at the link below for more information about the foundation, Tyler's story, and ways that you can support the foundation and its cause. 

Hilinski's Hope Foundation