Iowa’s Patrick McCaffery taking leave to address his anxiety

Jan 3, 2023, 2:00 AM | Updated: 4:02 pm
Iowa's Patrick McCaffery (22) celebrates after his 3-point basket against Nebraska in the first hal...

Iowa's Patrick McCaffery (22) celebrates after his 3-point basket against Nebraska in the first half during an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022, in Lincoln, Neb. (AP Photo/John Peterson)

(AP Photo/John Peterson)

              FILE - Iowa forward Patrick McCaffery is interviewed during Iowa's NCAA college basketball media day, Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022, in Iowa City, Iowa. Playing Duke in Madison Square Garden is a big deal for any college basketball player. For Iowa's Patrick McCaffery, it's even more meaningful because the game Tuesday is part of the Jimmy V Classic, which raises funds and awareness for cancer research. McCaffery has come back from thyroid cancer as a teenager to be the Hawkeyes' second-leading scorer. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)
            
              Iowa's Patrick McCaffery (22) celebrates after his 3-point basket against Nebraska in the first half during an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022, in Lincoln, Neb. (AP Photo/John Peterson)

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa’s Patrick McCaffery will take an indefinite leave of absence to address a mental health issue, the athletic department announced Tuesday.

McCaffery, son of head coach Fran McCaffery, said in a statement he has been battling anxiety and that it has reached the point where it inhibits his preparation and performance.

“It’s not fair to myself or teammates to be on the court when I am not myself,” he said. “The anxiety has affected my sleep, appetite, and stamina, which has resulted in not having the energy level necessary to compete at my full capabilities.”

Patrick McCaffery has started all 14 games and is the Hawkeyes’ third-leading scorer, averaging 12.8 points per game. He struggled the past two games, shooting 2 for 15 from the field and scoring a combined eight points in losses to Nebraska and Penn State.

“It might be two games, it may be four games, it may be more, but I will return when I feel like myself,” the fourth-year forward said.

McCaffery said the leave of absence is not related to his past battle with cancer. He was 13 when he was treated for thyroid cancer. He had two surgeries and was declared cancer-free three months after his diagnosis.

McCaffery said in an interview last month that the removal of his thyroid caused metabolic changes requiring him to pay close attention to his nutrition and sleep habits.

Fran McCaffery said the effects of his son’s anxiety have become more noticeable on and off the court the past couple weeks.

“All of us admire his courage and willingness to be open about this struggle and we hope others know that they are not alone,” the coach said. “We will be with him every step of the way.”

Iowa (8-6, 0-3 Big Ten) plays at home Thursday against No. 15 Indiana.

___

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Iowa’s Patrick McCaffery taking leave to address his anxiety