NBA Adopts Teams To Add Full-Time Mental Health Staff For 2019-2020 Season

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September 21, 2019

GP: Boston Celtics v Cleveland Cavaliers 190316
Photo: Jason Miller | Getty Images

The NBA is expanding mental health guidelines it adopted last season. Starting this year, all teams must have at least one mental health professional on their full-time staff. The league discussed the new rules at a meeting in Chicago last week.

The league adopted new rules that require teams to add at least one full-time licensed mental health professional a psychologist or behavioral therapist to their full-time staff. Teams will also be required, starting this season, to retain a licensed psychiatrist to assist when needed.

Cleveland Cavaliers’ five-time NBA All-Star player Kevin Love hit a wall two years ago in the middle of a game against the Atlanta Hawks.

His heart was racing, he couldn’t think, the room was spinning, he recalled in an essay for The Players’ Tribune:

“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 wrote. He was taken to a hospital in the third quarter, but the doctors said he was fine.

That 2017 panic attack, as well as Love’s own public discussion of his struggles with anxiety and depression, helped prompt the NBA players’ association to sketch out a new framework last season to help professional basketball players struggling with the pressures of the game and mental health issues.

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