Royce White Believes Rockets Should Hire Physician to Track His Mental Health
In an interview with correspondent Bernard Goldberg of HBO's Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel, White said he wants a physician who will decide if he is capable of playing or practicing on a given day.
“I want a medical point person that will remain neutral and keep the interest in health,” White told Goldberg. “Just like if your orthopedist says, ‘Royce’s left toe has a crack in it and he shouldn’t run or jump against the Lakers tonight,’ then I can’t run or jump against the Lakers tonight.”
White said the only difference between his disorder and an orthopedic injury is “you can’t see mine. There’s no swelling, so to speak. It’s not purple."
You can watch White's interview with HBO here (via NBA.com):
White's struggles with anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder have been well-documented.
The rookie forward has yet to play for the Rockets, and he hasn't practiced with the team since Nov. 6. On Jan. 6, the Rockets suspended him for "refusing to provide services" his contract required (h/t Associated Press, via Yahoo! Sports).
Two days after the suspension, White conducted his interview with Goldberg, which will air as a 16-minute segment on Tuesday evening.
In the interview, White compared his mental health issues to a physical injury. He said his disorders should be handled like an injury because he believes they are exactly the same except “you can’t see mine. There’s no swelling, so to speak. It’s not purple.”
He also said that he was willing to risk his career for these demands, because he is concerned with the potential consequences of playing without a physician's approval.
“I would be risking my life, White said. "What comes along with mental health that goes untreated? Alcohol abuse. Marijuana abuse. Suicidal behavior. Homicidal behavior. Those are things I’m not willing to risk to play basketball, to have money, to have fame.”
The HBO segment will also reportedly feature footage of White expressing concerns about people texting while driving, as well as a look inside his home closet.
White has struggled with anxiety throughout his life, and his admitted fear of flying was seen as a potential red flag heading into the 2012 NBA Draft (h/t Anthony Olivieri, Yahoo! Sports).
Despite his mental health issues, the Rockets selected him with the 16th pick of the first round.
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