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Iowa basketball star takes leave of absence to address anxiety struggles

Patrick McCaffery, a junior on Iowa’s basketball team, announced Tuesday that he is taking an indefinite leave of absence from the team as he battles anxiety. 

McCaffery, the son of head coach Fran McCaffery, detailed his struggles with anxiety in a post shared by Iowa basketball. 

“I have been battling anxiety for a while, and recently it has peaked, which has inhibited my preparation and performance on the court,” McCaffery said. “It’s not fair to myself or my teammates to be on the court when I am not myself.” 


McCaffery has started in all 14 of Iowa’s games during the 2022 college basketball season, averaging 12.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game. 

Iowa forward Patrick McCaffery, #22, drives to the basket around Michigan State Spartans guard Jaden Akins, #3, in the second half during a college basketball game between the Michigan State Spartans and the Iowa Hawkeyes on Feb. 22, 2022, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City, Iowa.

“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,” McCaffery continued in the statement. “My struggle with anxiety affects every aspect of my well-being and makes it incredibly difficult to function normally. This is what I am battling right now.


“For this season, I am taking an indefinite leave to address my situation. It might be two games, it may be four games, it may be more, but I will return when I feel like myself.” 

He added that the leave of absence had nothing to do with his past battle with cancer. 

Forward Patrick McCaffery, #22 of the Iowa Hawkeyes, celebrates a basket during the first half against the Wisconsin Badgers at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, on Dec. 11, 2022 in Iowa City, Iowa.

McCaffery was treated for thyroid cancer at 13 years old, according to the Associated Press. He underwent two surgeries and was declared cancer-free. 

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

The Hawkeyes are 8-6 on the season and are currently in the midst of a three-game losing streak. 

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