It is almost that time for the NBA season to begin. Introductions of new players and coaches are being set up so that teams will learn to gel together and make possible wins. Some teams appeared to be winning already because of the lineup that is on their roster while some are beginning to go to the altar at church and pray for the teams that may not be so lucky. But one team is hoping that their hometown Messiah will be able to rise up to the top; Derrick Rose. After one year of playing for the The University of Memphis with a NCAA championship appearance, he was the new face for the Chicago Bulls. Derrick gave Chicago a breath of fresh air and gave them hope for great seasons to come. Everything was going as planned until that unforgettable moment of tearing his ACL during the 2012 playoff game against the Philadelphia 76ers. In the game of basketball, you are prone to injuries. A lot if the great players have had some form of injury that had them to sit out of a few games and even the rest of the season. Of course they needed the allotted time to heal properly so that they will be able to play once they were released from their doctor’s care. Well apparently, Derrick Rose saw things differently. Even though Derrick was physically healthy, apparently he wasn’t mentally. When the sports world found out that he was prolonging playing on the court, they went into an uproar. They could not understand how someone that is physically healthy would choose not to come back and play, especially when the team needed him the most. A lot of people felt that he was being selfish about his decision. They felt that he was letting his team down and that maybe he wasn’t a true leader. Well Derrick was selfish, but not for the reasons that people have stated. As a fan of basketball and of Derrick Rose, I could not grasp his decision. But as a mental health professional, I was able to understand his reasoning. While the majority of the focus is placed on his physical well-being, very little was placed on his mental well-being. What he went through was a very traumatic experience physically but probably took more of a toll on him mentally. When a person has a traumatic experience, they often create scenarios in their mind to prevent them to move on in their life. For example, it could possibly be that Derrick mentally asking himself the following questions: What if I am not completely healed like the doctors said? What if I lose my starting position from the team? What if I get traded? What if I lose my endorsements? What if I get exiled from the NBA? If so, how will I survive? When athletes jump back in the game before they are mentally ready, they can kill their career. They could be caught up on not re-injuring themselves that they will not play their best. Bad decisions can be made on the court because a player is caught on protecting themselves from injury that their mind is not fully into the game. Will Derrick Rose be back at the top of his game when season starts, probably not? Working on getting to his competence level, having faith in himself, and connecting with his team: Derrick Rose will be able to climb back to the top and be better than ever.
Brandy J. Flynn is a mental health counselor and consultant who specialize in athletes and entertainers. For more information, click on the website http://www.brandyjflynn.com