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story.lead_photo.caption Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love said he was stricken with anxiety during a game Nov. 5 against Atlanta. Since then, Love has received counseling multiple times a month when the Cavaliers are at home. He drew the courage to go public after Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan acknowledged he battled depression.

Suffering for years in silence, Kevin Love has opened up about his struggles with mental health.

The Cavaliers forward writes in an essay for the Players' Tribune that he had a panic attack during a game this season and has spent most of his life afraid to accept there was something wrong with him.

"For 29 years, I thought about mental health as someone else's problem," he said.

Love said he was stricken with anxiety Nov. 5 during a home game against the Atlanta Hawks. Love said he had been under family stress and hadn't been sleeping well. After briefly being winded while playing 15 minutes in the first half, he felt his heart racing and couldn't catch his breath during a timeout in the third quarter.

"It's hard to describe, but everything was spinning, like my brain was trying to climb out of my head," said Love, a five-time All-Star now sidelined after breaking his left hand last month. "The air felt thick and heavy. My mouth was like chalk. I remember our assistant coach yelling something about a defensive set. I nodded, but I didn't hear much of what he said. By that point, I was freaking out."

Love was taken to the Cleveland Clinic, but tests didn't reveal anything abnormal. He returned to playing at a high level, but he was puzzled by what happened and burdened about people finding out.

The Cavs encouraged Love to see a therapist, and he gets counseling a few times a month when the team is at home.

Love said he drew courage to go public with his issues after Toronto All-Star DeMar DeRozan recently acknowledged he has had bouts of depression. After playing against DeRozan for years, Love said he would have never guessed one of the game's best players was having problems similar to his own.

"The reality is that we probably have a lot in common with what our friends and colleagues and neighbors are dealing with," Love wrote. "So I'm not saying everyone should share all their deepest secrets -- not everything should be public and it's every person's choice. But creating a better environment for talking about mental health, that's where we need to get to."

Holiday plans

Imagine driving for 1,500 miles with 12 adults and 12 children to reach a desert, then spending six days sleeping in tents. Louis Oosthuizen wouldn't miss it, a time to recharge over the holidays in South Africa.

"I'm already planning next year," Oosthuizen said.

For the past six years, Oosthuizen packs up family and friends and heads for the Namib desert, which stretches 1,200 miles along the Atlantic Coast. The only communication they have with the outside world is a satellite phone. They require two guides to drive them in and out of the desert because of the heavy dunes. When they aren't riding four-wheelers, they are fishing for dinner.

"You go 300 yards into the desert, it's so warm," he said. "The campsite is next to the ocean and it's cool at night."

He said the whole trip takes 11 days, which includes travel there.

"What makes it difficult is the week I come back is always the South Africa Open," he said. "It's a tournament I want to play, but it's a trip I can't miss."

Sports quiz

What NBA team selected Kevin Love as a No. 1 draft pick in 2008?

Sports answer

The Memphis Grizzlies

Photo by AP file photo
Louis Oosthuizen reacts after holing a putt on the 18th to make a playoff during the final round at the British Open Golf Championship at the Old Course, St. Andrews, Scotland, Monday, July 20, 2015.

Sports on 03/07/2018

Print Headline: Love discloses his battle with mental health

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