Hayden Hurst has always been frank about his battle with depression and the pain from his struggles in professional baseball.
But the Ravens tight end had always been a bit guarded about his rock-bottom moment. That is until this week, when Hurst opened up to Chris Porter of First Coast News.
Four years ago, while at the University of South Carolina, Hurst attempted suicide.
"I woke up in the hospital," he recalled. "I didn't know what happened. I had to have a friend fill me in. Apparently, I had been drinking and went home to my apartment and cut my wrist. I laid in a puddle of blood and one of my friends found me and called 911."
When Hurst woke up, he was handcuffed to the bed so he couldn't cut himself again. It was at that moment that he knew he had to get help.
"If I had a gun that night, I probably would have killed myself," Hurst told the Florida Times-Union last month. "I'm glad I only had a knife. It'd be a totally different story."
Hurst said his depression and anxiety lasted for about three years. It began when he entered minor league baseball at 18 years old as one of the best pitching prospects coming out of Florida. He was 6-foot-5 and threw 97 miles per hour – seemingly on the fast track to the Major Leagues.
That all came quickly crashing down when, in 2013, he got the yips – an unexplainable mental roadblock that left him unable to throw the ball straight. Pitching in his first professional game, Hurst walked all five batters he faced and threw two wild pitches. He never pitched in another game.
Hurst's battle with depression led him to alcohol and drugs. He said he drank every day and would spend weeks at a time sitting in a dark room by himself.
"The goal was always just to get blacked out," he told the Times-Union. "Anything, Xanax or cocaine, that made that feeling go away, I tried it. Not the brightest of ideas I ever had."
Hurst first found out his family's history of struggles with depression and anxiety when golfing with his father. Hurst's uncle committed suicide in 2008, and his cousin did the same two years later.
Hurst's family was a huge support, but he reached out for more assistance to battle his demons. The first step was to get clean, which he did after his attempted suicide.
Now he's using his platform, and revealing the full depth of his struggles, to help others in need. The Ravens' 2018 first-round pick has spoken to kids in Maryland and has continued his work this offseason, as he recently spoke at the Youth Crisis Center in Jacksonville.
The Hayden Hurst Family Foundation will host a golf tournament on Monday with all proceeds benefiting the Youth Crisis Center. Fans can learn more about his foundation and donate here.
It takes real courage to ask for help, and it's always right around the corner. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).