Eric Hipple is a former National Football League (NFL) quarterback whose ten-year career was spent with the Detroit Lions. Born in Texas and raised in southern California, he graduated from Utah State University with a degree in Business Administration.
Hipple’s NFL accomplishments include two playoff bids, a divisional championship, and the Detroit Lions most valuable player award for the ‘81 season. He is currently ranked sixth in career passing yards for Detroit.
From 1995-2000 Hipple was Color Analyst for the FOX NFL pregame show in Detroit. Since his 15-year-old son Jeff’s suicide, Hipple has devoted his life to building awareness and breaking down the stigma surrounding depressive illnesses. Hipple recently received the prestigious University of Michigan 2015 Neubacher Award for work with stigma associated with disabilities, the Detroit Lions 2010 Courage House Award, and the 2008 Life Saver Achievement Award given by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. He co-authored a study examining depression among retired football players. The study appeared in the April 2007 issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. In addition, Eric was awarded a presidential citation at the American Psychological Association 2006 Annual Convention for his six years of national community-based work combating adolescent depression and suicide prevention.
Eric’s message of resilience has provided mental fitness awareness to professional groups, military, law enforcement, schools, communities and, through the Under the Helmet program, reached thousands of high schools and youth coaches across the country. In conjunction with Navy's U.S. Fleet Forces and PAC Fleet, he has provided workshops on suicide and destructive behavior prevention during the last 12 years by focusing on the Mental Fitness Program. His book Real Men Do Cry, which chronicles his life of football, tragedy, and return to triumph, received a Publisher Presidential Award.
After retiring from University of Michigan Comprehensive Depression Center, where he spent eleven years in outreach, Hipple then established the After the Impact program, a neuro-behavioral residential treatment program serving military veterans and former NFL players where he served for six years. Eric is currently serving in Professional Relations at Transformations, a mental health/addiction treatment facility. Eric's commitment to helping others find a quality in life is demonstrated through work with Living Life on the Offense, a school-based education program sponsored by MIRA (Mental Illness Research Association).