Hayden Hurst was selected out of high school in the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Hayden struggled with pitch control in the minor leagues, eventually spiraling into depression and alcohol and drug abuse. Therapy and family support enabled Hayden to eventually pursue his passion – football. Hayden left the Pirates and baseball and walked on at the University of South Carolina in the summer of 2015. While there, he would become the all-time leader in career receptions for a tight end, and grab the school record for most receptions and receiving yards in a season by a tight end. He became the first sophomore in school history to be elected team captain, and in 2017 was named first team All-SEC tight end. The Baltimore Ravens made him their first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, and in 2020, he was traded to the Atlanta Falcons. In 2020, he set career highs in receptions, yards and touchdowns. He also won the 2021 NFL Players Association Alan Page Community Award, which is the NFLPA's highest honor and annually recognizes one player who demonstrates a profound dedication to positively impacting his team’s city and communities across the country.
An outspoken advocate for mental health awareness, Hayden established the Hayden Hurst Family Foundation to provide funding to programs that address mental health issues and provide mental health services to teens and adolescents. The Hayden Hurst Family Foundation is currently active and supporting services in the states that left the biggest mark on the Hurst Family: Maryland, South Carolina, Florida and Georgia.Watch the Video