Former NBA player Keyon Dooling has met with the rookies of NFL’s San Diego Chargers, and spoke to them about his experiences as a pro sports athlete.
Dooling noted the importance of balancing all issues in life, particularly when it comes to one’s mental health, Boltbeat reported.
““It’s important to balance life in regards to mental health. If I would have had my mental health in order I would have had a longer career, and a more productive career. I had so many things I was carrying along, and a lot of times you don’t realize that you are acting out whether it is suffering from anxiety or lacking discipline to get to the next level,” said Dooling.
“There are a lot of layers to mental health. I believe it is a lot easier to talk about these issues now because people are more vulnerable and open to sharing their issues. It has been destigmatized. The notion of having an issue at the moment doesn’t mean you are crazy, but you simply have a trauma in your life you need to overcome,” he added.
Retired from the NBA, Dooling travels the country as a motivational speaker. Before coming to the NBA, Dooling had to endure a lot, being sexually abused as a child.
Though Dooling was never an NBA All-Star, he suffered through a rough childhood and those experiences are part of the message he tries to deliver today to young players.
““I don’t want to have people go through what I went through to get their healing, and I don’t want them to deal with internal issues that they need to overcome without knowing what healing looks like,” he said.
“I believe the fastest growing area where athletes in particular are open to receiving help is mental health. Guys know that mental health issues come in many different forms. There are a lot of highs and lows in our sport, and sometimes when you are in a slump it can trigger a mental health episode. Mental health isn’t about a schizophrenic episode or a psychotic episode; it is really the layers within it and how normal it is to have an issue,” Dooling said.
In addition, Dooling also spoke to the rookies about the life of a professional athlete and how to handle the highs and lows as well as what to expect in the future.
Dooling spent 12 years in the NBA, appearing in 721 games (86 started), scoring 5036 points (average 7.0 ppg), dishing out 1593 assists (2.2 apg), in approximately 19 minutes of playing time.
He played for the Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, New Jersey Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, and Boston Celtics.
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