Love opens up on panic attack, mental health

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love opened up about suffering a panic attack during a game this season and how it led to him addressing his mental health in an essay published on The Players’ Tribune on Tuesday.

Love was taken to the hospital during a Nov. 5 loss to the Atlanta Hawks with what he described at the time as stomach pain and shortness of breath. In his Players’ Tribune story, he acknowledged the symptoms were caused by his panic attack.

“It came out of nowhere. I’d never had one before,” Love wrote. “I didn’t even know if they were real. But it was real — as real a broken hand or a sprained ankle. Since that day, almost everything about the way I think about my mental health has changed.”

He wrote that he knew something was wrong at the start of the game before the full symptoms hit in the third quarter. He left the game and was accompanied by a Cavaliers staff member to the hospital. Love rejoined the team the following day and played against the Milwaukee Bucks two days afterward.

Since the panic attack, Love wrote that he has been seeing a therapist a few times per month.

Love also left a loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder in January with an illness. That exit led to a fiery team meeting, during which several players challenged the legitimacy of his health that day, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported at the time.

Love, 29, did not address the January illness or the team’s reaction in his Players’ Tribune piece.

Love said he was inspired to open up about his mental health issues by Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan, who acknowledged last month that he suffers from depression.

“It really makes you think about how we are all walking around with experiences and struggles — all kinds of things — and we sometimes think we’re the only ones going through them,” Love wrote. “The reality is that we probably have a lot in common with what our friends and colleagues and neighbors are dealing with.

“… Mental health is an invisible thing, but it touches all of us at some point or another. It’s part of life. Like DeMar said, ‘You never know what that person is going through.'”

Love has not played since breaking his hand Jan. 30. He said Friday that he was optimistic he would return to game action before the team’s stated eight-week recovery timeline.

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