Iowa's Patrick McCaffery Taking Indefinite Leave of Absence to Address Anxiety

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 3, 2023

IOWA CITY, IOWA- DECEMBER 11:  Forward Patrick McCaffery #22 of the Iowa Hawkeyes celebrates a basket during the first half against the Wisconsin Badgers at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, on December 11, 2022 in Iowa City, Iowa.  (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)
Matthew Holst/Getty Images

Iowa Hawkeyes forward Patrick McCaffery is taking a leave of absence from the team to address the anxiety he said he's been experiencing "for a while."

McCaffery wrote a message explaining his decision, saying he will be away from the team for an "indefinite" amount of time and games with the plan to "return when I feel like myself."

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"I have been battling anxiety for a while, and recently it has peaked, which has inhibited my preparation and performance on the court," he wrote. "It's not fair to myself or teammates to be on the court when I am not myself. 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.

"My struggle with anxiety affects every aspect of my well-being and makes it incredibly difficult to function normally."

McCaffery said the leave of absence is unrelated to his previous cancer diagnosis.

Eric Olson of the Associated Press noted McCaffery, who is the son of Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery, was diagnosed with cancer of the thyroid at 13 years old. He underwent two surgeries, one of which removed his thyroid, and required treatment that included taking two radioactive iodine pills.

He was declared cancer-free three months after he was diagnosed.

This is McCaffery's fourth season with the Hawkeyes. He has appeared in 14 games and is averaging 12.8 points and 4.8 rebounds while shooting 40.0 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from three-point range.

He played 26 minutes in Sunday's loss to Penn State.

Iowa is 8-6 on the season. It is 0-3 in Big Ten play and will look to earn its first conference win when it hosts Indiana on Thursday.