Eric Hipple is a former National Football League (NFL) quarterback who spent his ten year career with the Detroit Lions. Hipple’s accomplishments include two playoff bids, a divisional championship, and the Detroit Lion’s 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 pre-game show in Detroit. Since his 15-year-old son Jeff’s suicide in 2000, Hipple has devoted his life to building awareness and breaking down the stigma surrounding depressive illnesses, and providing innovative ways to address treatments. Hipple has received prestigious awards for his work, including the University of Michigan 2015 Neubacher Award for work with stigma associated with disabilities, the Detroit Lions 2010 Courage House award, the 2008 Life Saver Achievement award given by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, as well as a presidential citation at the American Psychological Association’s 2006 Annual Convention for his six years of national community-based work combating adolescent depression and suicide prevention. His message of resilience has provided mental ﬁtness awareness to professional groups, military, law enforcement, schools, communities, and through “Living Life on the Offense” program, thousands of high school students and youth coaches. In his outreach efforts he has provided workshops on destructive behavior and suicide prevention over the last ten years, by focusing on awareness and positive mental ﬁtness. His book Real Men Do Cry received a publisher Presidential Award and he co-authored a study examining depression among retired football players, which appeared in the April 2007 issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. After spending eleven years as outreach specialist at the University of Michigan
Comprehensive Depression Center, he currently serves as Outreach Specialist for Eisenhower Center’s “After the Impact” program, a neuro-cognitive behavioral residential treatment facility serving military veterans and former professional athletes. He and his wife Shelly live in Fenton, Michigan, where they continue to Live Life on the Offense.
Tarah Hipple-Thomas graduated magna cum laude from Eastern Michigan University with her Bachelor of Social Work degree in April of 2017. Her goal is to specialize in trauma focused therapies. Tarah has personal experience dealing with post-traumatic stress, anxiety, depression, and self-harm, as well as overcoming these issues through intensive therapy. She has a book of poems published called Tarah’s Song: Words of Survival. For the past two years, Tarah has been speaking to schools and the military with her father, Eric Hipple, about their struggles with depression and the importance of mental fitness. Tarah lives in Washington and continues her studies to obtain her Master’s degree so she can help people the way she was helped.