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A new normal: Cavs’ coach Lue speaks about anxiety

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Former WNBA player Jayne Appel-Marinelli shared a powerful story in the ‘The Players’ Tribune’ about a family member living with mental illness.

Boston Celtics v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Six
Cleveland Cavaliers Head Coach Tyronn Lue
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

In March, Tyronn Lue stepped away from his Cavaliers’ team due to health issues — chest pains. He revealed this week, days before tipoff of the 2018 NBA Finals, that the issues were caused by anxiety. It is but the latest example of someone affiliated with the NBA or WNBA being open about a mental health struggle.

In a powerful tribute in honor of May being Mental Health Awareness Month, The Players’ Tribune posted all content collected on its platform around mental health.

I found myself getting lost in the consumption of these raw, first-hand accounts from athletes and former athletes, and how mental health had affected them personally — whether their own health, or the health of family or friends. Former San Antonio Silver Star’s standout Jayne Appel-Marinelli’s story was especially poignant in its discussion of a family member’s mental illness.

Appel-Marinelli chooses not to disclose the name of her family member who is living with the mental illness, but gives the reader a glimpse of the reality that this family member is faced with every day. She urges those not living with a mental illness to see how stigma in our society forces those with mental illness to feel excluded and ostracized. I gleaned from her story that the “new normal” should be a society that ends stigma and stops dehumanizing those who are living with mental illness or dealing with mental health issues.

I am incredibly proud of the NBA and WNBA for being on the forefront of inclusivity, acceptance and tolerance — encouraging and empowering their players and fans to talk about things that have not been talked about openly across other professional sports leagues.

Even though Appel-Marinelli’s piece was written in 2016, it remains relevant today, and I am excited to see more open and honest conversations that work towards ending the stigma of mental illness through the storytelling of those affiliated with the WNBA.

Thank you, Jayne Appel-Marinelli, for sharing your truth.