Family, teammates, strangers show support for Patrick McCaffery
IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - Iowa forward Patrick McCaffery will be with the Hawkeye men’s basketball team on Thursday when they host Indiana, but he won’t take the court. The junior announced that he is taking a leave of absence from playing basketball due to anxiety.
His dad, Coach Fran McCaffery, says anxiety is something Patrick has been dealing with since high school, but it recently got to a point where it just isn’t manageable. It’s impacting both his physical and mental health which is why he made the difficult decision to step away.
The decision to not play basketball isn’t for good and he hasn’t set a timetable on when he hopes to be back. Patrick is focused on getting back to feeling like himself.
Fran said it was important for Patrick to be transparent about what he was going through. That decision has received a lot of support.
“I think it’s important,” Fran said. “The outpouring of support has been tremendous from a variety of different people. People we know, people we don’t know, many of whom are experiencing the same things and going through the same struggles. I think that’s helpful for all of us.”
“I think from an emotional standpoint for all of us, it was very difficult. From a mom’s perspective, watching somebody you love struggle, as I do with all my children - I feel the same way about all of them, but to watch him, see him battle and try to keep fighting because he thinks that what he should do, I felt like it was our job to give him permission to not have to do that. To feel okay that he wasn’t letting anybody down and we don’t care if he ever touches another basketball. I don’t think that’s the case or that will happen, but that’s not why we love Patrick,” his mom Margaret McCaffery said.
His teammates were some of the first people to know about his decision to step away from the game, which includes his big brother Connor McCaffery. They believe it was brave for him to make this kind of announcement.
“I’m just trying to be there for him in any way that I can. Obviously, it’s something I’ve kind of known about for quite some time, so I just do as much as I can for him. Be there for him,” Connor said.
“I think you could just tell he was a little bit off. Just the way he was playing,” forward Kris Murray said. “But, we just kept encouraging him. The strength that he has to be able to come out and talk about something like this personally for him, I think that just shows the person he is.”
“Its incredibly brave what he did. I didn’t even know he was dealing with it and I live with him, but it’s something I admire. It’s very courageous. People go through things like this and you don’t even know,” forward Filip Rebraca added.
Patrick will be with the team Thursday when the Hawkeyes host Indiana. He also plans to travel with the team to New Jersey.
Fran said it was important for Patrick to remain supportive of his teammates during this time.
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