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Getting Sacked and Bouncing Back

HOUGHTON – Eric Hipple had bouts of depression when he was attending Utah State University to play football in the 1970s, but it wasn’t until many years later he realized he had a problem and started getting help for it.

Hipple, who played quarterback for the Detroit Lions for 10 years before retiring, spoke about recognizing the signs of depression and the types of treatment for it at the Magnuson Hotel in Houghton. The event was part of the Copper Country Mental Health Rice Memorial Center recovery lecture series.

After leaving the NFL, Hipple said he became associated with the University of Michigan Comprehensive Depression Center in Ann Arbor, and now he does appearances to talk about his experiences. He also speaks at local schools to explain depression to students. He works with the NFL Players Association, police groups and the United States military.


Kurt Hauglie/Daily Mining Gazette Former NFL quarterback Eric Hipple speaks Wednesday at the Magnuson Hotel in Houghton during a presentation on recognizing and treating depression. Hipple does outreach for University of Michigan Comprehensive Depression Center in Ann Arbor.


Hipple said while he attended Utah State University he experienced bouts of depression, but he didn’t know that was the problem.

“Going into my junior year, I just didn’t feel good,” he said.

Having grown up in Southern California, Hipple said he thought the way he was feeling was due to living through a Utah winter. However, he started drinking heavily and haved no desire to do anything.

“I found myself not getting out of bed at all,” he said. “I ended up flunking three classes that year.”

Eventually, Hipple said he got his grades up, and the team won a championship two years in a row. When he finished at Utah State, the Lions drafted him in 1980.

In his 10th year with the Lions, Hipple said he was cut from the team.

“I knew my career was over,” he said.

Hipple said he was 33 years old when he was cut from the Lions.

“One of the things about leaving is, ‘What do I do now?'” he said.

He received a degree in business during his time at Utah State, Hipple said, and with that knowledge he started a business.

“In about six years, I was actually making more money than I did playing football,” he said. “Things were going pretty well.”

However, Hipple said eventually the bouts of depression returned, and he was spending more time at home than at the office.

Much of his day was spent watching television or sleeping, and the business started to suffer.

One day, Hipple said his wife was driving him to Detroit Metropolitan Airport. He handed her a note he just wrote, which stated “I’m sorry. I love you,” then opened the door and jumped out while the car was going 75 mph.

“I don’t remember any of this stuff,” he said. “I remember waking up at the hospital.”

While in the hospital recovering from the injuries he received jumping from the car, Hipple said there was discussion among the doctors about placing him in the psychiatric ward. He denied he had any mental problems.

Three years later, Hipple said his 15-year-old son began showing signs of depression, although Hipple still didn’t realize that’s what it was.

“He didn’t feel good,” he said.

Eventually, Hipple said his son who played for his high school basketball team, was benched because he couldn’t concentrate on playing.

While his son was going through his situation, Hipple said he decided to take him to a doctor, but not to get help.

“I took him to his primary care physician to prove to him things were fine,” he said.

One day, Hipple said he traveled out of town, and while he was gone his son shot himself with a shotgun.

“When that happened, the music died for me,” he said.

He started drinking heavily and taking excessive amounts of anti-depressants, Hipple said.

“I was eating a lot of them,” he said of the medication.

During that period, Hipple said he was arrested for drunk driving, which actually turned out well for him, because the judge put him into program to deal with his problems. However, he didn’t go to the program so the judge jailed him for 15 days, where he started thinking about his situation.

“I wanted answers,” he said.

After getting out of jail, Hipple said he started attending the University of Michigan Comprehensive Depression Center as a patient. He started getting better, and eventually he was hired to do outreach for the organization.

Hipple said the main function of the human brain is to solve problems.

“It likes to have challenges,” he said.

However, when the challenges are too much to deal with, Hipple said the brain tries to find ways to feel good, which can lead to alcohol or drug abuse or obsessive compulsive behavior.

“If I don’t feel good, my brain is going to try to find a solution for it,” he said.

Hipple said one of the points he stresses when talking about depression is that it is a brain illness. There are many ways to address the illness including talking therapies, medications and even surgery.

In order for depression to be treated successfully, Hipple said it needs to be recognized early, but that can be a problem for the people around someone with depression.

“When we see each other every day, you don’t notice things,” he said.

There are physical signs of depression in how a person looks, Hipple said. Lack of appetite or desire to do anything are strong indicators of a problem.

Building up the self-esteem of a person suffering from depression is key to getting that person back to mental health.

“It takes a commitment,” he said. “We have to work on it.”

Some people with depression give up on trying to make themselves better because they have no support from family or friends, Hipple said.

“It’s very important we support each other,” he said.

More information about spotting depression and how to address it can be found online at



Original Article : Mining Gazette

Quilting for a Cause

HOUGHTON – In 2005 Beth Jukuri began making quilts, which she eventually came to realize were actually a form of therapy to help her recover her self-esteem she lost after years of sexual abuse when she was a child.

During a showing of her quilts Wednesday at the Copper Country Mental Health Rice Memorial Center, many of which include a woman in various situations, the 46-year-old Jukuri said the therapy she got from making the quilts was not suggested by a mental health professional.

“It wasn’t formalized,” she said. “The only way I felt normal was doing quilts.”


 Kurt Hauglie/Daily Mining Gazette  Beth Jukuri explains the features of one of the quilts she made as therapy to help her recover from sexual abuse she experienced as a child. There are 22 quilts relating to her recovery on display at the Copper Country Mental Health Rice Memorial Center in Houghton.


In the early quilts, Jukuri, who lives in Chassell, said the woman, who is shown only in silhouette, is small compared to the rest of the images in the quilt. In later quilts, as she recovers her self-esteem, the woman becomes larger relative to the rest of the images in the quilt.

Jukuri said she made the quilts depicting the woman from 2005 to 2011.

“That’s quite a distance,” she said. “I knew it was personal. I didn’t know it would tell a story.”

Jukuri said she began to think more intently about the abuse she suffered in 2004 when her father was arrested for child abuse.

“That was my realization, I guess,” she said. “I wouldn’t know the true meaning (of the quilts) until months later.”

Although she sells quilts, the quilts with the Lady, as she calls them, are just for her.

“They’re not for sale,” she said.

Jukuri said she hopes the quilts will be beneficial to viewers who may be facing similar issues as she faced.

“I think it’s going to help many other people,” she said.


Original Article : Mining Gazette