Former Stanford football defensive back and friend of Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, Zach Hoffpauir, unexpectedly passed away last week. The details regarding his death are still unknown, but his father recently spoke on the matter and provided some insight leading up to the tragedy.
Apparently, Hoffpauir suffered up to six concussions during his football career, which led to severe depression and anxiety, to the point where he previously attempted suicide -- though his father confirmed that was NOT the cause of his death.
Beyond concussions, Hoffpauir suffered from Lyme Disease and had bouts of anxiety and depression. In a podcast recorded last fall, Hoffpauir revealed, "Inside, I was so miserable, but I would fake it ... so the only way I can get myself to feel better is, I'm going to fake it and act like I'm super happy."
These concussions and internal struggles ultimately led to a medical retirement prior to the NFL. It was McCaffrey who played an instrumental role in helping Hoffpauir through his struggles. In that same podcast, Hoffpauir boldly said, "He saved my life."
In explaining his struggles, Hoffpauir also provided hope to those struggling in their own lives, saying, "You have to face your darkness ... you say it into existence and someone else can finally feel okay to say they have an issue. You're helping other people."
Hoffpauir's father stated that the family donated his son's brain to concussion research at Boston University, and in about a year they'll get some more much-needed answers surrounding the former Stanford linebacker's struggles.