Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott said this week that his older brother, Jace Prescott, died by suicide in April.
The 27-year-old — along with his brother, Tad Prescott — spoke about the loss of Jace in an interview with In Depth with Graham Bensinger, published to YouTube on Wednesday. Both brothers said Jace had a difficult time being the primary caregiver for their mother, Peggy Prescott, as she battled colon cancer.
"Jace at the time was finishing with school and was home, was with her and watched it," Dak told Bensinger of Jace's time with their mother. "She couldn't necessarily hide it from Jace because he was there every day. He saw the times where she would have to spend probably 10-plus hours throwing up, this and that, and saw the medicine she had to take."
Though his mother encouraged Dak to stay at Mississippi State University as she fought the illness, he left the school in the middle of the football season to help care for her. When Peggy died in 2013, Jace never felt comfortable opening up about the painful chapter he shared with her, Dak said.
“You can’t even put into words the burden," he explained. "It’s something only Jace knew. And he didn’t necessarily share that. Jace never was really much of a talker."
“When something like that was a huge burden on him, he didn’t know how to share it — didn’t know how to be vulnerable about it," Dak continued.
While speaking with Bensinger, Tad said "everything seemed fine" when he saw Jace just three days before he died of suicide. Dak said he was asleep when he first received the tragic news on April 23.
“I mean, obviously tears and tears and tears,” Dak said of his reaction. “I mean, I sat there and tried to gather what had happened, and wanted to ask why for so many reasons … and as much as you want to ask why as much as this, I mean, I know my brother, and as we said, he had a lot of burdens on him.”
The death of Jace, coupled with the coronavirus pandemic, caused Dak to go through the early stages of depression.
“All throughout this quarantine and this offseason, I started experiencing emotions I’ve never felt before,” Dak said.
“Anxiety for the main one. And then, honestly, a couple of days before my brother passed, I would say I started experiencing depression," he continued. "And to the point of, I didn’t want to work out anymore. I didn’t know necessarily what I was going through, to say the least, and hadn’t been sleeping at all.”
The star quarterback — who will be opening the 2020 NFL season against the Los Angeles Rams on Sept. 13 — is encouraging others experiencing depression to open up about their feelings to their loved ones.
“He had a lot of tough things, and my sense of saying that is it showed me how vulnerable we have to be as humans, how open we have to be," Dak said of his brother.
“Because our adversities, our struggles, what we go through is always gonna be too much for ourselves and maybe too much for even one or two people, but never too much for a community or too much for people in the family that you love," he continued. "So you have to share these things.”
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
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