Editor’s note: This story contains alleged accounts of domestic violence. If you or someone you know is a survivor of domestic abuse, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or at https://www.thehotline.org/
Danielle Wade, the partner of former NFL quarterback Mark Rypien, has filed a lawsuit against Rypien seeking damages after “continuing acts of domestic violence assault, false imprisonment and battery,” a lawsuit filed in the Superior Court, Washington State, Spokane County says.
The lawsuit indicates that domestic violence occurred between 2008 to ’20 and details repeated and violent incidents during their marriage. Wade noted in the lawsuit that she feared leaving him due to her responsibilities as a mother, as well as feeling trapped in the relationship with Rypien, who is believed to have chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), according to the release.
“Danielle Wade was with Mark Rypien for over 18 years. She continues to have empathy for him, ”Mary Schultz, the attorney for Wade, said. “But his past trauma does not give him a license to inflict trauma on her. Injuries resulted, and those injuries have to be addressed. The kind of domestic violence detailed in the lawsuit is an unspoken but known reality of the NFL. ”
According to the lawsuit, Wade was also “rendered unable to safely initiate separation from Defendant by fear, by public marital duty, loyalty and by the caregiving role she was assigned, even while being traumatized herself.”
Wade and Rypien met in 2002 and were married in ’03, per the suit. In the Spokane community, Rypien “enjoyed substantial local fame” and Wade was constantly surrounded by Rypien’s “admirers, and observed and experienced how his presence and interaction was highly respected.” He founded a charity in ’04, which Wade assisted in by supporting Rypien and working with him in fundraising.
However, his high-profile presence in their community became damaging to Wade, as Rypien began threatening her, experiencing severe mood swings and ultimately becoming violent towards her in or around October 2008, per suit.
Rypien allegedly began telling Wade about his “desire to hurt others” and told her that he would hurt her if she left him or told others about his behavior, according to the suit. Wade interpreted his words as threats against her and she “was to help the Defendant keep himself under control, to ensure that he did not hurt others and she was not to leave him.” He told her that any action taken against him would hurt the children “who benefited from the foundation.”
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The lawsuit details various instances of graphic domestic violence. In October 2008, Rypien allegedly wrapped his arms around Wade and squeezed her “to the point of her being unable to breathe and bruising her ribs.” Between 2010 and ’14, Rypien repeatedly injured Wade’s hand during altercations, including one instance where he pushed her to the ground in ’13, per the lawsuit.
The violence escalated, per the suit. On January 24, 2014, Rypien allegedly punched Wade so hard that “she dropped to her knees, at which point the Defendant struck her in the back of the head.” The next day, she sought medical care and concealed Rypien’s identity by signing in as Danielle Wade. Per the lawsuit, she “acknowledged domestic violence to her medical doctor,” reporting to them that he had punched her in the stomach before “but that the damage this time necessitated her medical assessment.” The doctor encouraged Wade to report the incident to the police, but she did not.
In June 2015, Rypien allegedly shoved Wade and caused her to hit her head on the side of the door. The next day, “she could not stand up… she could not walk, and she began having nausea and vomiting.” An ambulance transported her to the hospital, where she underwent a CT scan. In another instance in ’19 when she went to the hospital after another violent altercation, a doctor noted in their records there was “[h]history of domestic violence. ”
On various occasions, Wade sought medical treatment in fear of what the domestic violence was doing to her body long-term: in one instance for “continuing cognitive decline” and another for “memory problems,” per the lawsuit. In August ’19, Wade reported to her psychologist that she was experiencing “severe” stressors that were impacting most aspects of her life. The psychologist noted “cognitive changes” in Wade.
An incident allegedly occurred in June 2019 where Rypien and Wade were involved in a road rage altercation that entrapped Wade in the car. While trying to make him stop the vehicle, Rypien backhanded Wade “forcefully in her abdomen, knocking the wind out of her, then stopped the car, where plaintiff dropped out of the car gasping for air, vomiting and trying to regain her breath,” according to the suit. Witnesses to the event called 911, and reported to officers that they saw Rypien hit Wade. Rypien was arrested after the incident for domestic violence.
According to a press release, Rypien is believed to have been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury after spending 11 seasons in the NFL. The 59-year-old filed a class-action lawsuit against the league in 2012 seeking compensation for “repeated traumatic injuries to his head” during his career. Per release, “he participated in the NFL concussion litigation with the understanding he likely suffers from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which can only be definitively diagnosed through an autopsy upon death.”
In an interview with The Spokesman-Review, Wade blamed a November 2017 incident on a change in Rypien’s CTE medication. According to the lawsuit, Rypien put his hands around Wade’s throat and she scratched his neck so he’d release his grasp during the encounter. When police arrived and noticed the scratches, she was arrested.
Rypien’s attorney released a statement for the former NFL quarterback in response to the allegations in the lawsuit.
“Mr. Rypien categorically and unequivocally condemns domestic violence, ”the statement said per the Associated Press. “He had a relationship with Danielle Wade that ended recently. During this relationship, Mr. Rypien acknowledged and apologized for actions that were harmful to Ms. Wade for which he is truly sorry, ”the statement said. “He has full faith in the judicial system and hopes the parties can reach just resolution so that they can move forward living their separate lives.”