Former Cyclone star dishes on mental health awareness

Former Iowa State basketball star Royce White stopped in Iowa Falls last Wednesday to talk about his experience with balancing mental health and his career. PHOTO BY GREG FORBES

In pursuing his dreams as a player in the NBA, former Iowa State Cyclone star Royce White found a second calling.

White, who stopped in Iowa Falls last Wednesday and spoke to a crowd at Bethany Lutheran Church, is using his platform to try to erase the stigma around mental health issues. Living with anxiety himself, White said his struggles and successes in overcoming the condition have inspired him to use his story to inform others.

White began by detailing the day he realized something wasn’t right. As a 16 year old, White said he had his first panic attack induced by marijuana. That would spark a monthslong battle with regular panic attacks.

“I had residual panic attacks three times a day and had no idea what they were,” he said, adding that he continued to deal with panic attacks as he pursued his basketball career in high school. “It felt like I was on my way to dying. It felt like a heart attack. I was pretty sure I was going to die at any moment.”

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