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Kevin Love opens up on his personal struggle with mental health

kevin love

In a recently published article for The Players’ Tribune, Cleveland Cavaliers big man Kevin Love revealed that he suffered a panic attack in a game against the Atlanta Hawks on November 5th. The former UCLA standout chose to speak out in hopes of helping others with similar mental health issues.

“It came out of nowhere,” Love writes in his article. “I’d never had one before. 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.”

Like a lot of men, Love was never comfortable with sharing his feelings. In fact, the 6-foot-10 rebounding machine says he was “protective about anything and everything in his inner life” for 29 years. He thought someone might see it as a weakness.

“So for 29 years, I thought about mental health as someone else’s problem,” Love wrote in his column.

Love believes there were several reasons for his panic attack, including a lack of sleep, Cleveland’s shaky 4-5 start to this season, and family issues.

“I knew something was wrong almost right after tip-off,” Love wrote.

“K-Love,” as he’s come to be known, is a well-conditioned athlete, to be sure. However, issues arose early in that November game, such as shortness of breath, an increased heart rate, and dizziness.

Shortly after halftime, Love’s symptoms got worse. Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue had his team huddled near the bench during a third-quarter timeout, but Love was having a hard time staying focused.

“By that point, I was freaking out,” Love continued. “When I got up to walk out of the huddle, I knew I couldn’t reenter the game — like, literally couldn’t do it physically.”

After a brief discussion with coach Lue, Love decided to make his way to the locker room. This was no ordinary trip, though.

“I was running from room to room, like I was looking for something I couldn’t find,” Love noted. “Really I was just hoping my heart would stop racing. It was like my body was trying to say to me, You’re about to die. I ended up on the floor in the training room, lying on my back, trying to get enough air to breathe.”

Love’s next stop was at Cleveland Clinic for medical testing, which he says was “a blur.”

At first, Love was concerned that people might look down on him as a result of his panic attacks. Now, with the aid of a therapist, he’s open to speaking out on the issue.

In closing, Love noted that he does not have things figured out just yet, but he’s making an effort to help others with mental health issues.

“Everyone is going through something that we can’t see,” Love wrote in his closing statement. “Mental health isn’t just an athlete thing. What you do for a living doesn’t have to define who you are. This is an everyone thing.”

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