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Iowa’s Patrick McCaffery taking leave to address his anxiety

NCAA Basketball: Iowa at Penn State

Jan 1, 2023; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes forward Patrick McCaffery (22) dribbles the ball around Penn State Nittany Lions guard Andrew Funk (10) during the first half at Bryce Jordan Center. Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Iowa’s Patrick McCaffery will take an indefinite leave of absence to address a mental health issue, the athletic department announced.

McCaffery, son of head coach Fran McCaffery, said in a statement he has been battling anxiety and that it has reached the point where it inhibits his preparation and performance.

“It’s not fair to myself or teammates to be on the court when I am not myself,” he said. “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.”

Patrick McCaffery has started all 14 games and is the Hawkeyes’ third-leading scorer, averaging 12.8 points per game. He struggled the past two games, shooting 2 for 15 from the field and scoring a combined eight points in losses to Nebraska and Penn State.

“It might be two games, it may be four games, it may be more, but I will return when I feel like myself,” the fourth-year forward said.

McCaffery said the leave of absence is not related to his past battle with cancer. He was 13 when he was treated for thyroid cancer. He had two surgeries and was declared cancer-free three months after his diagnosis.

McCaffery said in an interview last month that the removal of his thyroid caused metabolic changes requiring him to pay close attention to his nutrition and sleep habits.

Fran McCaffery said the effects of his son’s anxiety have become more noticeable on and off the court the past couple weeks.

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

Iowa (8-6, 0-3 Big Ten) plays at home Thursday against No. 15 Indiana.