Young NBA and College Football Athletes Quit Sports for Mental Health

  • Earlier this week, 22-year-old Tyrell Terry announced his retirement from the NBA after two seasons due to anxiety.
  • This spring, a 21-year-old Ohio State player also left the game after suicidal ideation.
  • NBA players Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozan are working to destigmatize mental health within the NBA.

Basketball player Tyrell Terry, 22, joined a growing list of young athletes who have stopped competing for mental health reasons.

Terry, who played two years in the NBA, advertised on instagram will retire from the sport. He said that basketball caused him anxiety and that he experienced the “darkest moments” of his life while playing the sport.

“While I’ve accomplished amazing things, made unforgettable memories and made lifelong friends…I’ve also experienced the darkest moments of my life,” Terry wrote. “To the point where instead of making me stronger, it started to destroy me.” Where I began to despise myself and question the value of myself, much more than those around me could ever see or know.”

A post shared by Tyrell Terry (@tyterry_)

Terry was a standout player in high school and college. He was one of the 75 best high school players, according to his schooland won the Kyle Macy Award Best Division I freshman college basketball player over a one-year stint at Stanford.

Although it was considered a “steal” when it was selected 31 overall in the 2020 NBA draft, the early success of Terry’s career did not translate to professional basketball. He played for the Mavericks for a year before the team fired him. The Memphis Grizzlies also released the young player earlier this year.

Terry said she experienced intrusive thoughts, nausea, and shortness of breath due to her anxiety.

“This is just a brief description of the anxiety this sport has caused me, and while I’m grateful for every door it has opened for me, I can’t continue this fight any longer because of something I’ve fallen in love with,” he said.

More athletes speak out about their mental health

Like Terry, former Ohio State football player Harry Miller retired from the game after spending three years with the team. By ESPNMiller was also a standout high school athlete and five-star recruit before joining the Buckeyes in 2019.

Miller, 21 when he left football, said in a cheep who experienced suicidal ideation and self-harm.

“I’m grateful for the infrastructure that Coach Day has put in place at Ohio State, and I’m grateful that it allows me to find a new way to help others in the program,” Miller said. “If it weren’t for him and the staff, my words wouldn’t be a reflection. They would be evidence in an autopsy.”

Young athletes Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka withdrew early from competitions, citing mental health reasons.

Biles, the most decorated gymnast of all time at age 25, eliminated from the overall final at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics after speaking out about stress.

“This Olympics has been really stressful…it’s been a long week, a long Olympic process, a long year,” Biles said. by ESPN’s Michele Steele. “I think we’re too stressed, we should be here having fun and that’s not the case.”

“Once I came here, I thought, no, the mental is not there,” he added. “I had to let the girls do it.”

Naomi Osaka, also 25, withdrew from the French Open last year after feeling “vulnerable and anxious”. She also revealed that she has battled depression since 2018, when the crowd booed her when she beat Serena Williams in a controversial fight.

NBA players are starting a dialogue about the mental toll of the sport

Terry’s NBA teammate Kevin Love said he left a game in 2017 after suffering a panic attack.

Love, declaring in a Article for the Player’s Tribune, he said his mouth went dry and he was having trouble breathing in the middle of a game against the Atlanta Hawks.

“I was freaking out. When I got up to leave the group, I knew I couldn’t get back into the game, I literally couldn’t physically,” the Cleveland Cavaliers player wrote.

Love appeared alongside Bulls star DeMar DeRozan in a 2018 video to advocate for mental wellness in the NBA.

“Never be ashamed of wanting to be better than yourself,” DeRozan said.

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