In an NBA.com article this morning by David Aldridge (scroll down past the Laker talk), Keyon Dooling tells the story of a nervous breakdown he sustained this summer, and his subsequent week long stay in a mental institution. He details the experiences that led to his decision to retire from the Celtics, which all stem from sexual abuse he suffered as a child.
"It started when I was five, and it happened multiple times," Dooling said. "It happened with men and women. I was abused by my brother's friend. I was five; he was about 13 or 14. But also young ladies, older ladies in our neighborhood. In my opinion, I thought I was cool at the time. I thought I was in the in crowd. I thought that was how it was supposed to be. And I was sadly mistaken. I didn't even realize the pattern of behavior I had taken on at such an early age."
Excerpts from Aldridge's explanation of what happened earlier this year:
Dooling was exhibiting behaviors familiar to soldiers returning from war zones. But Post Traumatic Stress Disorders aren't limited to those who fight in wars. Police officers, firefighters, anyone subject to a severe emotional episode can suffer from PTSD. Dooling's problems came to a head in August.
Dooling was taken away and hospitalized for evaluation. He didn't remember voluntarily signing into the hospital. The details are hazy, in part, because he was immediately put on medication. One of the primary symptoms of PTSD is paranoia, and Dooling was surely paranoid. He didn't want to see anybody -- or anybody to see him.
It's powerful stuff, and my heart goes out to Dooling for the trauma's he and his family have been through. But the amazing part is the way he is now handling the situation. Just last week he went on Katie Couric's show and opened up about his childhood abuse:
It's hard to even imagine what Dooling has been up against, and the fact that he is willing to share his experiences with the intentions of helping others is truly admirable. I met Keyon once at a post game shoot around last season. At the time I remember being extremely impressed by the genuine interest he took in each and every fan there. Clearly that is exactly the type of person he really is.