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Damian Lillard relates to athletes suffering from mental health issues: “I had a couple of those moments.”

DENVER, CO - APRIL 9: Damian Lilliard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers handles the ball against the Denver Nuggets on APRIL 9, 2018 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

In a recent interview, Damian Lillard had some thoughts regarding mental health issues in the sports world. As the topic arose, he said that he felt similar to many athletes currently enduring mental health problems.

According to Lillard, he felt as if he previously battled depression.

When people describe what depression looks like, or [what] battling mental health looks like. Sometimes I look back like I had a couple of those moments. I just didn't recognize that that's what was happening.Damian Lillard

Issues of mental health in the sports world came to prominence as Simone Biles dropped out of the all-around competition in the Olympics. Team USA said that Biles withdrew "to focus on her mental health."

As the news broke out, numerous athletes came out in her support. Lillard is another athlete realizing that mental health problems are a serious reality in the sporting community.

The Portland Trail Blazers star guard even said he "looked back at some of [his] experiences" and saw mental health issues. Unknown to him at the time, he also reported that he "didn't recognize" the severity or even existence of problems.

Many athletes fail to realize mental health is a real problem. In Lillard's case, he said that he feels the pain of athletes having these issues.

"I can definitely relate to how [athletes suffering mental health problems] feel."Damian Lillard

His realization comes at a time where his future in Portland is unknown. Since his draft day in 2012, Lillard grew into Portland's franchise player and arguably their best player ever. However, this offseason saw questions arise about his future.

At 31, he isn't a star on the rise anymore. Lillard admitted this along with his disappointment after another underwhelming Blazers season.

One being I’m not getting any younger. Our environment has always been great. We’re not losing a lot, but we were eliminated by a shorthanded Denver team that I felt we should have beat. I just walked away from that really disappointed.Damian Lillard

Hopefully, for Lillard, he can overcome any mental health struggles he has. For now, his focus remains on the Olympics as Team USA chases the gold medal.

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2 responses to “Damian Lillard relates to athletes suffering from mental health issues: “I had a couple of those moments.””

  1. […] Recently, athletes such as Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles have also been outspoken about the pressures of being an athlete and its mental toll. Another example is Portland Trailblazers star Damian Lillard, who spoke out in support of Biles this summer.  […]

  2. […] Recently, athletes such as Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles have also been outspoken about the pressures of being an athlete and its mental toll. Another example is Portland Trailblazers star Damian Lillard, who spoke out in support of Biles this summer.  […]

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