NBA player deals with OCD and fear of flying


Royce White, the 16th overall pick in the NBA draft, joined his Houston Rockets team this month after missing the first week of training camp. While the absence would be notable for any rookie player, the reason for his absence captured national attention: a fear of flying and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

A special skill set needs special accommodations

Now that he has confronted his anxiety and worked with the team toward finding solutions, he is ready to go and speak openly about his mental health issues. His off-the-court issues were no secret to Houston when they drafted him. His skill set is spectacular enough that teams were willing to seek solutions to his particular problems. White was the only Division I player to lead his team in scoring, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks.

Skipping the plane and taking the bus

Over the summer, White managed to control his compulsions enough to fly with the team to Las Vegas and to their rookie orientation in New York City. However, as training camp approached, White’s anxiety increased and he knew he needed a long-term plan to deal with his fear of flying. He contacted the Rockets and they successfully negotiated a travel arrangement.

“Royce is going to have a little bit of a different path in the NBA,” coach Kevin McHale said. White will take a bus to most away games.

Honesty and feedback are key

“It helps for me just to be honest,” White explained. “One of the things that comes with anxiety is trying to hide from what you’re scared of and often times that is the spotlight. Being honest and having good feedback obviously helps me out.”

Source: The Republic

Photo by John Nyboer

Royce White had 18 points and

Royce White had 18 points and nine rebounds as Iowa State upset fifth-ranked Kansas 72-64 on Saturday, snapping the Jayhawks' winning streak at 10 games.


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