After previously acknowledging that he had been sexually abused as a child, former NBA guard Keyon Dooling went into far greater detail Tuesday, explaining the mental anguish he endured 25 years after the traumatic episode.
The 37-year-old wrote about his experience for The Players’ Tribune in an article titled ‘Running from a Ghost,’ which was tied in with the beginning of Mental Health Awareness Month. Dooling was eventually diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after spending time in a mental health facility near the end of his 13-year career.
The former lottery pick said that he was just seven-years old when a 14-year-old boy in his neighborhood forced him to perform oral sex.
The experience, he explained, immediately changed him – but it was something he had kept hidden from outsiders as he became a high school star, college standout at Missouri and NBA player with seven different teams.
But in September 2012, Dooling, then a member of the Boston Celtics, was at a restaurant in Seattle and went to use the restroom, where he says he was groped by a man.
Dooling became irate, but the bigger problem was the aftermath in which he became consumed with the emergence of deep-seeded memories.
‘All these images started flooding my mind, and I couldn’t tune them out,’ Dooling wrote. ‘I had this horrible, crushing anxiety wash over me.’
The ensuing meltdown concerned his family and teammates.
Dooling couldn’t eat or sleep and was suffering from severe paranoia.
‘The worst part was that I could see the fear in my children’s eyes,’ Dooling wrote of his four children. ‘They knew something was wrong with Daddy, and it was bad.