NBA is a league of innovators that every season attempts to improve several aspects of the game, on and off the court.
In the last several years, many NBA players spoke openly about issues concerning the mental health of an athlete.
Namely, Kevin Love‘s public discussion about a panic attack in a regular season game versus the Atlanta Hawks in 2017 brought to the “light” the need for adjustments in the rules of the league as long as mental health issues are concerned.
Also, Demar Derozan opened up and spoke his mind on the depression issues that he faced for several years.
Last month, the league adopted new rules and according to NBA vice president of player development, Jamila Wideman, is mandatory for every team to add at least one full-time licensed mental health professional to their full-time staff.
Also, it will be required for the teams to retain a licensed psychiatrist to assist when needed by the start of this season.
Moreover, teams have to ensure the privacy and confidentiality of mental health matters between the organizations and the players.
Many players in the past brought “forth” the discussion and showed the courage to speak about mental health issues.
The ex-Boston guard, Keyon Dooling, wrote about the matter in The Players’ Tribune and became the counselor of National Basketball Players Association own mental health wellness program that started in 2018.
Furthermore, another example is the ex-Rockets player, Royce White, who claimed in the New York Post that the association blackballed him from the league after disclosing his fear of flying and several other anxiety issues .
The NBA received many warning signs, before taking action, but in truth it has become a reality, that gradually normalize the issue in the “eyes” of the fans.
“The more that quite frankly we think of it in the same ways that we already think about physical health when those conversations become more integrated I think that’ll be another sign of success,” Wideman said, per CNBC.