Atlanta Falcons tight end Hayden Hurst has been honest and open about his struggles with mental health and on Thursday he talked about his suicide attempt in a letter to his younger self.
Hurst read the letter in a segment for “CBS This Morning.” Hurst talked about his failed attempt at becoming a professional baseball player with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He warned his younger self that after he crashed out of baseball, it only gets harder from there.
“Tighten up, life will spiral downward from here. You’ll develop the yips, ruining your ability to throw with accuracy. You’ll tumble into depression and spend thousands of dollars on therapy but it will all fail you. You’ll turn to alcohol and drugs to kill the pain. You’ll be in a precipitous freefall and that will bring on more drugs and nightly drinking until you blackout,” he says.
Hurst talks about becoming a walk-on at South Carolina and eventually transitioning to a starter where he would play at a high level. He developed into a starter during his sophomore and junior seasons. But even on the high of being one of the best NFL-ready prospects, the pain of depression would still linger.
Hurst then reveals his suicide attempt.
“You’ll have some success but the demons of depression will still have a hold on you and the drugs and drinking will only escalate. After a drunken night on the town you’ll see no escape from the darkness and in a chaotic moment, you’ll make the calamitous decision to take your own life.
“While sitting in your truck one night, you’ll take out a knife and cut your wrist. But God will watch over you and despite being almost blackout drunk you’ll call a friend who happens to be in nursing school. She rushes over to stop the bleeding and calls 911.”
Hurst said he was rushed to the hospital and placed on a 72-hour suicide hold at a psychiatric hospital. He said at the point he made a promise to himself he would never “be in that position again.”
“You’ll tell yourself, ‘the rebirth starts now.’”
He said he promised himself to cut out the alcohol and drugs completely and stay sober five years later.
The “crowning moment” of his comeback was being drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in 2018.
“You’ll realize what despite what you may think you are not alone in this fight. And you’ll channel your hurt, sadness and anxiety for opportunities for others going through the same struggles,” he said.
Hurst now plays for the Falcons and dedicated part of his life to helping people going through the same struggles he goes through.